How has Willy's twisted perception of the American dream caused Biff's failure?Im writing an essay and need some stuff to support this point. If anyone could help and maybe supply some quotes to go...

How has Willy's twisted perception of the American dream caused Biff's failure?

Im writing an essay and need some stuff to support this point. If anyone could help and maybe supply some quotes to go along with it? that wuld be awesome =)

Expert Answers
timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think it has anything to do with the American Dream. 
Willie filled Biff with the "cult of personality" --- the belief that who you are is more important than what you can do, that personality is the key to success (which Willie usually thinks of in economic terms).  I sometimes think of this in terms of our present day cult of cultivating self-esteem without the need to earn it.  But the thing that really caused Biff's failure is the incident in Boston when Biff found Willie in the company of a woman.  Biff had gone up to ask his Dad to intercede with this math teacher to pass him so that he could attend the University of Virginia on an athletic scholarship.  His disillusionment with his Father seems to color his life from here on.

Many people read more into Biff's rejection of his father's life choices than I do.  I think the moment of discovery in Boston, of finding out that his dad was "human" before he could deal with it, was what really colored the rest of his life.  In this regard it reminds me of "Young Goodman Brown" and his inability to accept anyone after the forest episode/dream.

Read the study guide:
Death of a Salesman

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question