Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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In Death of a Salesman, Happy says several times, "I'm losing weight, you notice, Pop?" Which American myth is he bringing up here?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Willy Loman's world it's not what you are, but what people think you are that counts. For him, being a "well-liked man" is everything. And if you're going to be a well-liked man, you need to look the part. That means taking good care of your personal appearance, including your weight. That's why Happy's so keen to let his old man know that he's losing weight; he wants Willy to be proud of him.

Willy plays along with all this, because he lives in a world of fantasy and delusion, which to some extent has rubbed off on his sons. In truth, Happy's best days are well and truly behind him, just like Willy's. But far from confronting the truth, he feeds his father's delusions, hoping that somehow they will keep him from losing hope. By maintaining the facade of success he thinks he's doing his old man a favor, when in actual fact, he's simply making things worse.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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During one of Willy's hallucinations, he reminisces on a time when Biff and Happy were adolescents. Willy clearly shows more...

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