Sunday, October 17, 2010


·    Assignment Paper: 5
Ø    Topic                    : Willy Loman as a victim of capitalist society
o      Student’s Name   : Gandhi Pooja S.
Ø    Roll No                 : 15
·    URL             
Ø    Semester                : 1
o      Batch                     : 2010-11
              Submitted to,                                                           
              Mr. Jay Mehta                                                         
              Department of English                        
              Bhavnagar University

*   Introduction:
                           Arthur Miller was born in New York on the 17th October, 1915. An account of the early years of his life was written by him under the title “A Boy Grew in Brooklyn which is not very informative. Young Miller had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to deliver bread for the local bakery before going to school. He and his class-mates were more anxious to go on to the football field than to pore upon books. Miller graduated from the high school in 1932.
                        He was however, unable to proceed to college for want of money. Accordingly, he worked for two years in an automobile-parts warehouse on fifteen dollars a week in order to pay his way to college. Having saved just enough money for one semester, he entered the University of Michigan, and was able to complete the course with financial help from the National Youth Administration.
                         Miller grew up during the years of the Depression in America, and this was the most important single factor which determined his work. Once during this period he withdraws all the twelve dollars to get the bank to buy a racing bicycle. On the next day, the bank closed down. The crowds of people standing at its gate helplessly. “Their money was inside!” He was glad that he had withdrawn his money just in time. But about a week later, his bicycle was gone. It was Depression that gave him his compassionate understanding of insecurity of man in modern industrial civilization.
                       In 1940, he married Mary Slattery, whom he had met earliest at college. But his married life ended in a divorce. On 29th June, 1956, he married Marilyn Monroe, well known actress. His marriage lasted in four years. Then Miller went abroad for a time, and met Miss Ingeborg Morath, a photographer of Austrian birth, whom he married in 1962.
                     Miller is not a prolific writer. The reason perhaps is that he writes only when he has something fresh to say that he refuses to cash in on an easy popularity by repeating himself. He is famous because he has the touch of common speech mingled with democratic idealism. His famous works are:
*   ‘The Man who had all the Luck’ (1944)
*   ‘All My Sons’ (1947)
*   ‘Death of a Salesman’ (1949)
*   ‘The Crucible’ (1953)
*   ‘A view from the Bridge’ (1955)
*   ‘After the Fall’ (1964)
*   ‘Incident at Vichy’ (1964)
*   ‘The price’ (1968)
                    ‘Death of a Salesman’ is famous modern tragedy through the example of Willy Loman, the protagonist.

*   Willy Loman as a victim of capitalist society:

*   Nature of American Society:
                    Much of Willy’s suffering is due to the nature of American Society. American society is highly commercialized and highly competitive. One of the most dominant beliefs of American Society goes by the name of “the great American dream”. This America is based on the doctrine of self-help which assumes that a person possessing sufficient initiative can rise from a lower that a higher position.

*   Willy Loman as a believer of romantic American Society:
                   The doctrine of self-help is often illustrated in America with reference to such figure as Benjamin Fraklin (1706-90) who rose from a printer’s boy to an ambassador, and John Garfield (1831-1881) who rose from a log cabin to White House, both these persons setting an example worthy of emulation by generations of young Americans. Willy Loman is a fervent believer in that a man can rise to a high position and can attain wealth by means of personal attractiveness, personal charm, personal initiative, and personal contacts. He applies this view to himself as well as to his son Biff.

*   Vanity for his personality:
                  He speaks of himself in almost glowing terms when he says that he is “vital” to the Wagner Company as its salesman in the New English territory. He claims that it was he who introduced the Wagner Company to buyers on this particular territory, and that the Company cannot do without him. He uses such expressions as “knowed them dead” and “slaughtered them” to convey his conquest of this territory from the point of view of his promotion of the goods manufactured by his Company. He says that he is well-known all over the territory and that the cops will look after his car no matter in which street of a town in New England he chooses to park it. He relates stories of his popularity as, for instance, when he says that he met the Mayor of the city of providence and had a friendly chat with him. He gives inflated figures of the sales made by him and the commission that he will earns on those sales.

*   Willy is slightly disturbed over Biff’s failure:
                 Willy talks in similar terms about his son Biff has achieved nothing up to the age of thirty-four and, through Willy is slightly disturbed over Biff’s failure to have “found” himself, he clings to his belief that Biff has a great future before him. He recalls Biff’s boyhood when Biff distinguished himself on the football field where he was greeted by his school-mates like a hero. Biff, he believed, has “spirit” and “personality”. Biff, he says, is built like an Adonis. He compares Biff to Hercules, and then to a god. He condones because, he thinks, Biff is an exception type of young man. He is convinced that Biff will be able to get any amount of money from Bill Oliver to start a business. He is of the opinion that his sons, because of their personality and attractiveness, will do better in life than Bernard the book-worm, and that he himself will build in flourishing business than Charley has built up. He harps upon his “contacts”.

*   Tight grip of law of success on Willy Loman:
                The social system of which he is a product has an iron hold upon him. Like most other Americans, he ardently believes in this law of success. The law of success teaches Americans that theirs is a great country and that there is no room in it for a man who proves a failure. In other words, a man who cannot make use of the formula by which success can be achieved has no right to live in America. And the formula of success is one that has been described above, namely, personal magnetism, the art of cultivating people, the amiable smile, and personal attractiveness. This law of success has such a tight grip on Willy that he cannot escape from it even though he has moments of realization of the actual state of affairs. Thus, we are made to feel that a man is a victim of his environment and of the social forces in the midst of which he lives. The social forces in this play have a role comparable to that of Fate or Destiny in ancient Greek Tragedy.

*   Willy Loman as a victim of capitalist society:
              That Willy is a victim of the American society to which he belongs is further illustrated by the manner in which is treated by his present employer Howard. Howard’s attitude towards Willy is most callous. Willy’s interview with Howard is one of the most important situations in the play showing the cruelty of the prevailing social system. Willy is now sixty-three years old. He is aware of the fact that he does not have his old stamina because he cannot even concentrate on his driving. He has worked for the Wagner Company for thirty-four years. Recently he has been deprived of his regular salary and relegated to working on a commission basis.
               He appeals to Howard to give him an assignment that will keep him in New York. Howard is unsympathetic and refuses such a transfer. Willy lowers his demands from sixty to fifty and then forty dollars a week for the job. Then Howard grants none of Willy’s requests, and casually dismisses him from the Company. Even Howard’s plea that an employee should not be treated like a fruit falls on deaf ears. “you can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away- a man is not a piece of fruit,” says Willy to Howard. In other words, we here see the extremely inhuman nature of the American competitive society which gets rid of an old employee as soon as he ceases to be a source of profit to his employer. This may or may not be a criticism of capitalism, but it is certainly a condemnation of the profit motive which does not recognize human wants and needs.
              The way the American dream has let down Willy and the manner in which his Company has treated him are largely responsible for Willy’s decision to commit suicide. It is a sad commentary on the American social system that a man should have to kill himself in order to provide his family with the insurance money badly needed by the sons to start some kind of business. The tragedy his aggravated by the fact that Willy himself does not fully realize the falsity of the American dream.

*   Willy’s confession:
              It would, however, be wrong to say that Willy his wholly a victim of social system. His own responsibility for his tragedy is by no means negligible. In the first place, he knows his own limitations and shortcomings and yet he chooses to shut his eyes to them. He confesses to Linda, his wife in so many words that people do not “take to him,” that they, “pass him by,” and that they “laugh” at his fatness; he also admits that he had miscalculated his sales. All this of course, he does in a moment of mental illumination or self-discovery. Otherwise he continues to deceive himself with unrealistic hopes both with regard to himself and Biff. It seems like a willful blindness to facts. He sees before him a striking example to prove that the American dream, and there is Bernard without having played football. Charley says that his son has risen to a high position even though he did not formulate any plans for him: “my salvation is that I never took any interest in anything.” As for Willy’s formula of success, Charley says: “who liked J.P. Morgan? Was he impressive? In a Turkish bath he’d look like a butcher. But his pockets on, he was very well linked. And yet Willy is not disillusioned.
               He is so obsessed by his illusions regarding Biff that he is not prepared to listen even to Biff’s account of his interview with Bill Oliver. His illusion does not allow him to listen to an account of failure. This American dream prevents him from accepting Ben’s offer of a golden opportunity in Alaska where he could have become rich. He is not only by nature unadventurous, but as soon as Linda reminds he of Dave single man, Willy is convinced that he will do much better in his own Company than in Alaska. He deceives himself to such an extent that he thinks that his funeral will be a “massive” affair and will be attended by very important people in the trade. Actually only Charley and Bernard attend the funeral besides the members of his family.
              The sense of guilt that he carries with him on account of his past infidelity to his wife has also something to do with the mental instability of Willy. Whenever he sees Linda darning stockings he is reminded of the Boston woman to whom he had once made love. He is also aware of the shock that Biff had received on seeing him with that woman in the hotel in Boston. In other words, he is dimly aware of the basic reason for Biff’s having gone astray.

*   Conclusion:
             Willy Loman is a confused and muddle-headed person. A part of his tragedy, ay list, is due to his weaknesses and unbalanced mind. In ‘death of a Salesman,’ Miller has managed to rise above the ordinary flat lands of moralization of thesis drama. His play is a consummation of virtually everything attempted by that part of the theatre which had specialized in awareness and criticism of social realities. It is a culmination of all efforts since the 1930’s to observe the American scene and trace, as well as evaluate its effects on character and personal life.
           Willy Loman is that of a common man trapped by the common place values and pressures of his society. Willy is uncommon only in the intensity which he endeavors’ to overcome his littleness with unrealistic claims and dreams for himself and his favorite son.          




·    Assignment Paper: 4
Ø    Topic                    : Gulliver’s Travels as an allegory
o      Student’s Name   : Gandhi Pooja S.
Ø    Roll No                 : 15
·    URL             
Ø    Semester                : 1
o      Batch                     : 2010-11
              Submitted to,                                                           
              Ruchira Dudhrejiya                                                
              Department of English                        
              Bhavnagar University

·    Introduction:
                     Jonathan swift was born in Dublin on November 30, 1667. He was the son of English lawyer. He grew up there in the care of his uncle before attending Trinity college at the age of fourteen, where he stayed for seven years, he was not of a very studious turn of mind, but he succeed in getting his degree in 1685. His uncle died in 1688 then he became the secretary of Sir William Temple and member of Whig Party. In 1694, he took religious order in the Church of Ireland. Returning to English with Lord Berkeley in 1701. He had begun to write satires on the political and religious corruption. His major satirical works are:
Ø    A Tale of a Tub(1704)
Ø    The Battle of the Books(1697)
Ø    Gulliver’s Travels(1726)
                        He also wrote number of political pamphlets. Because of Swift’s strong allegiance for Church, he became the member of Tory party.

Ø    Gulliver’s travels as an allegory:

*   Allegory:

                          Allegory is the figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the literal. Allegory is generally treated as a figure of rhetoric, but an allegory does not have to be expressed in language. Simply put an allegory is a device used to present an idea, principal or meaning in literary form, such as a poem or novel. An allegory in its most general sense is a extended metaphor.
                           The rhetorical strategy of extending a metaphor through an entire narrative so that objects, persons and actions in the text are equated with meaning that lie outside the text.
                           One of the most famous allegories in English is John Bunyan’s pilgrim’s progress (1678), a tale of Christian salvation. Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is also the best example of an allegory.

*   Allegory in voyage to ‘Lilliput’:

·       Flimnap, the Treasurer, represents Sir Robert Walpole:
                            Swift satirizing the manner in which political officers were distributed among the candidates by English king in Swift’s time. Flimnap, was the prime minister of England from 1715to 1716 and then again from 1721to1742. Dancing on a tight rope symbolizes Walpole’s skill in parliamentary tactics and political intrigues. Similarly, Reldresal represents Lord Carteret who was appointed by Walpole to the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Again, the phrase, “one of the king’s cushions”, refers to one of king George’s mistress who helps to restore Walpole to favour after his fall in 1717.

v   West minister Hall:
                              The ancient temple in which Gulliver is housed in Lilliput probably refers to West minister Hall in which Charles-1 had been condemned to death. The search of Gulliver by the Lilliputians may have been formed by the Whigs to investigate the conduct of the previous government and especially of Oxford and Bolingbroke who were suspected to treasonable relationships with France and Old pretender of that Whig committee.

*   Queen Anne’s annoyance:
                              Gulliver’s account of the annoyance of the Empress of Lilliput at his having written ‘A Tale of Tub’ in which Swift had attacked religious abuses but which had been misinterpreted by the Queen as an attack on religion itself. Gulliver’s account of the conspiracy against him and his impending impeachment is Swift’s satirical description of court-intrigues which were a feature of political life in England at that time. Swift here gives us amusing glimpses of what went on the court of George-1 when Sir Robert Walpole was the most influential of the politicians. The articles of impeachment against Gulliver may be an allegory on the actual impeachment in 1715 of four Tory ex-ministers.

*   Conflict between Big-Endians and Little-Endians:
                             Gulliver speaks of the conflict between the Big-Endians and the Little-Endians in Lilliput. It is funny that, while one party believes that boiled eggs should be broken at the Big end, the party insists on breaking the eggs at the at the smaller end. In this account Swift is ridiculing the conflict between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants.

·       Function of High heels and Low heels:
                            Gulliver speaker of the conflict between High-heels and the Low heels is the example of quarrel between the two major parties Whig and Tory. In the part-I Gulliver described the allegory of political offices.

*   Social life in voyage to Brobdingnag:

§       Allegory on human pride and pretension:
                           When Gulliver has given to the king an account of the life in his own country, of trade, the wars, the conflict in religion, the political parties, the king has a heartly laugh and asks Gulliver whether the latter is a Whig or a Tory. Then turning to one of his ministers, the king observes how contemptible a thing is human grandeur which could be mimicked by such diminutive insects as Gulliver. Swift is here ridiculing human pride and pretension. Human beings who have such lofty ideas about themselves are no better than insects in the eyes of the king of Brobdingnag.

*   Description of beggars:
                            The description of the crowed of beggars whom Gulliver happens to see the metropolis of this country is intended as a satire on the beggars who actually existed in the city of Dublin. The sight is, indeed, horrible and disgusting. Among the beggars, there is a man with a huge tumour in his neck; another beggar has wooden legs, each about twenty feet high. But the most hateful sight is that of the lice crawling on their clothes. This description reinforces Swift’s view of the human the ugliness and foulness of the human body.

*   King’s own interpretation toward England:
                           When the king, comments on Gulliver’s account of the English parliament, the English courts of justice, and other institutions in England. The king’s views is that the history of Gulliver’s country seems to him to be only a series of conspiracies, rebellions, murders, massacres, revolutions, banishment, etc. according to the king, all these are a result of ‘hypocrisy , perfidy, cruelty, rage, madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice and ambition. The king concludes his comment by expressing the view that the bulk of the people of Gulliver’s country are the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth. These comments of the king almost sum up Swift’s own cynical views about mankind in general.  

*   Contemporary life in part-III:

·       Allegory on experiments and researches:
                          We are also greatly amused by the useless experiments and researches which are going on at the Academy of Projectors in Lagado. The projectors here are busy finding method to extract sunbeams out of cucumber, to convert human excrement into its original food, to build horses from the roof downwards to the foundation, to obtain silk from cobwebs, and to produce books on various subjects by the use of a machine without having to exert one’s brain. All these were intended as a satire on the kind of work the Royal Society in England was doing in those days, swift here ridicule scientists, accodemics planners, and intellectuals in fact all people who proceed according to theory and are useless when it comes to actual practice.

v   English system of administration in Laputa:
                      In the account of the life in Laputa, Swift also satirizes the English system of administration, especially with regard to Ireland of the time. The English government ruled Ireland from a long distance, and was thus not in direct touch with its Irish subjects even through some of the English politicians held property in Ireland. Swift also here gives us an allegorical account of the successful resistance of Ireland to William Wood’s half-pence.

§       Historians and critics of part-III:
                   Swift satirizes historians and literary critics through Gulliver’s interview with the ghosts of the famous dead. The point is that literary critics often misinterpret great authors like Homer and Aristotle. In the portrayal of the struldbrugs, Swift satirizes the human longing for immortality. The immortal persons have grown so old, feeble, and infirm that they want to die but death does not come to them.

*   Voyage to the land of Houyhnhnms:

*   Contrast between Yahoo and Houyhnhnms:
                   In this part the Yahoo are intended to represent human beings. The very initial description of the Yahoos given to us by Gulliver is repellent. Gulliver describes then as abominable, and he is both astonished and horrified on seeing the physical resemblance between them and persons of his own race. By contrast with the Yahoo, the Houyhnhnms are noble and benevolent animals who are governed by reason and who lead an orderly life.
                 Yahoos’ love of their guilt, their gluttony, and their weakness for liquor. The master also speaks of the lascivious behavior of the female Yahoo. Houyhnhnms are excellent being whose grand principle is to cultivate reason and be wholly governed by it. Houyhnhnms hold periodical meeting of the population are discussed and solved. Yahoos represent human being, and Houyhnhnms, who are horses Swift’s purpose here is to attribute to horses certain qualities which would lacking in human being. The main quality is reason or the rational quality which human beings, according to Swift.

*   Gulliver’s denunciation of the human race as represented by his own countryman:
               When Gulliver gives to the master Houyhnhnms an account of the events and happenings in the England and in other European countries was due sometimes to the ambition of kings and sometimes to the corruption of ministers. Gulliver speaks of the numerous deadly weapons which the European nations employ for destruction purposes. Gulliver then tells his host about the law-suits that are fought in English courts, and he speaks disparagingly about lawyer and judges. The whole of this account by Gulliver is an exposure of the evils of war and the wickedness of lawyers and judges. Gulliver also says that many people in his country ruin themselves by drinking, gambling, and debauchery; and that many are guilt of such crimes as murder, theft, robbery, forgery, rape, and sodomy.

*   Allegory on prime minister of England:
              The account which Gulliver gives of the political life in his country is really a bitter criticism of the evils that prevail not only in England but in all countries of the world. The prime minister, according to Gulliver, is a person wholly free from joy and grief, love and hatred, pity and anger; and he is a person with a violent desire for wealth, power, and titles and with indignation ever to tell the truth about any matter. The vast numbers of people of his country, Gulliver says, live by begging, robbing, stealing, cheating, pimping, forging, whoring and so on. Indeed, this is just allegory but denunciation and invective.

*   Conclusion:
              A part from the four voyages of “Gulliver’s Travels”, Swift used the devices of allegory to address political life, social life, and contemporary life of human beings. He also gives the contrast between human beings and animals. Throughout the journey of Gulliver, Swift gives the touchy picture of human society.