Title

‘Life is a casting off’ in Death of a Salesman

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2016

Publication Title

Arthur Miller Journal

DOI

10.5325/arthmillj.11.1.0057

ISSN

2333-3154

Abstract

Linda Loman's statement in Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman that “Life is a casting off” adds meaning to the play in several senses, especially when considered in the context of her needlework. This term means to finish off a completed, knitted item and thus conveys an affirmative sense of accomplishment as well as a more somber recognition of loss. It expresses Linda's effort to unify her family through her domestic duties and frugality. She has also overcome being “cast off” by Willy's infidelities and continually hopes that Willy might, like Ben, “cast off” on new voyages of success. The aphorism expresses the Lomans' upwardly mobile striving in a statement typical of the play's mixed diction that mingles their lower-class origins and lofty social expectations.

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