|Review: Death of a Salesman
||[Apr. 20th, 2012|10:00 pm]
I can't remember if I'd read Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (1949) before, but I picked it up a few days ago and finished it today.
Wow, I am never reading that play again.
The beginning is surprisingly modern--dealing with the malaise of things not quite going right in your life. Very Nine Inch Nails. Depressing and horrible and so very realistic.
I didn't much like the main character, though because I liked his wife, I tried to like him.
The middle was an anti-seminar about positive thinking. It really captures all the reasons I can't get excited about positive thinking, plus a few more. Let's just say that positive thinking not enough, not by itself. But it's also too much, just too much to live up to.
We get to meet his kids who seemed likeable as children, but I couldn't yet tell what I thought of them as adults. I decide I can't imagine any way to help the main character at this point.
In the last part, we get a little more insight into how the characters got how they did, and I formed very strong opinions about the two sons. And I become even more convinced that there is no way help the main character.
The end made me cry. I don't know why; it's not like the ending is a big surprise.
And then there's an additional nose rubbing in the unpleasantness tacked on after that.
So, it's a good play because it makes it very easy to understand how messed up you can get if you pursue the wrong dream or try to fit in or refuse to deal with a reality that's too harsh for you (or whatever your interpretation is of what went wrong). In fact, it's open to all kinds of interpretation.
It's nice to have something that can really explain a difficult concept. Ugh, but I already got it, and I've already been struggling with what I want to be when I grow up, and I'm still struggling a bit, so for me it was just unpleasant.
Except for the part where one of the characters figures things out for himself. He doesn't succeed in explaining it anyone else (but us), but there's hope for him. And in a story this bleak, that's something.
Cake of the day - I didn't want to add a typical cheery cake to this post. So I went out of order looking for something. This was the best I could find and the more I look at it, the more I like it here.