I wrote this after reading Death of a Saleman for the first time. Yes, I'm probably the only 37 year old on the planet who has never seen a play or read this masterpiece.
But, it hit the spot.
Here's what I wrote for the discussion in class:
What scared me after reading Death of a Salesman is I saw a little of Biff and Willy in my own life. Willy for the way he works himself to the bone, feels empty inside while grinding out a living because there is no ultimate happiness. Willy: “I know it when I walk in. They seem to laugh at me” (Klinkowitz & Wallace, 2007, p.2341) . No matter how many awards I have won at work, grades achieved, or even the smiles on my kid’s faces, I always think someone is still laughing at me. Despite irreplaceable friendships it was not always like that, it felt forced like I shoved myself into other people’s lives instead of being invited. The grind that Willy was on is similar to what I face. Getting up daily at 4:30am, home after 5pm, and I am typing this around 10pm because after helping with dinner, folding laundry, and tucking the kids in bed I finally get a chance to read a story that touched me a little bit. Sure, my life is nowhere near the mess of Biff or Willy as I have great group of friends, loving wife who does not blindly follow me, but there’s a emptiness, one that make me wonder why I’m still fighting the insecurities of yesteryears and the prospect of not fulfilling the grand life my parents thought their genius son should have (much like Willy talking up Biff too much).
Biff : “I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you” (Klinkowitz & Wallace, 2007, p.2388). It took a head injury, and several years of depression to realize that I enjoy working and that becoming a manager was not the end game, but instead finding work worth doing would keep me hungry to be alive. Writing has a cathartic effect; I can splash my dark feelings onto a page and cast them away like a minnow on a hook ready to hit the lake. Luckily, I stuck with it long enough so I can earn a little coin for my words on the weekends writing about a game that I enjoy due to its social aspect and now after several years at Target there’s work waiting for me in about eight hours that someone cares about, including me.
I could have taken the easy road like Willy, but instead I found the ability like Biff to take stock in who I am, versus who people want me to be and start anew.