In Death of a Salesman, is there connection between Happy’s rejection of Willy and Happy’s periodic insistence that he’s losing weight and will soon get married?

In Death of a Salesman, there is a connection between Happy's rejection of Willy and his periodic insistence that he is losing weight and will get married. Happy has inherited Willy's superficial personality and finds it easier to speak about his goals rather than achieve them. These goals are Happy attempts to earn Willy's admiration even though he has no intention of attaining them. His rejection of Willy illustrates his selfish personality.

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There is certainly a connection between the way Happy rejects Willy and his continual recital that he will lose weight and get married. As the younger, less successful Loman brother, Happy grew up in Biff's shadow and desperately desired his father's attention and admiration. Although Happy has no plans of...

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There is certainly a connection between the way Happy rejects Willy and his continual recital that he will lose weight and get married. As the younger, less successful Loman brother, Happy grew up in Biff's shadow and desperately desired his father's attention and admiration. Although Happy has no plans of reaching his father's lofty expectations, he knows what Willy wants to hear and takes pleasure in reciting his dreams rather than striving to attain them. By telling Willy that he will lose weight and find a wife, Happy experiences a brief moment of fulfillment and psychologically deceives himself into believing that his goals are within reach.

Similar to Willy, Happy would rather speak about his goals and pretend he will achieve them instead of taking the appropriate course of action. He grew up listening to Willy talk about how much money he would earn on his next business trip without seeing the actual results. Happy inherits Willy's delusional, shallow personality, which explains why he pretends to be a concerned, motivated son but is actually a selfish underachiever.

Happy never moved away from home and remained in Willy's presence. By doing so, Happy continues to live his carefree, irresponsible lifestyle while attempting to appease Willy with empty promises. The members of the Loman family are full of hot air, and Happy's contradicting personality reflects his own father's insincere nature.

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Happy is portrayed as a completely insecure, delusional man who is following in the footsteps of his unsuccessful father, Willy. During one of Willy's flashback hallucinations, Happy continually attempts to get his father's attention by informing him that he has lost weight. It becomes clear that Happy grows up in his older brother's shadow and struggles to gain Willy's attention and respect. The fact that Happy continually tells his father that he has been losing weight as an adolescent and says that he will soon get married, which is an obvious lie, emphasizes his struggle to please his father.

Unlike Biff, who resents Willy after discovering his infidelity, Happy seems to feign concern for Willy but is too selfish to actually care about him. One could argue that Happy does not completely reject Willy but rather focuses all his energy on himself. Happy apparently has no problem lying to his father or leaving him behind in favor of engaging in more thrilling activities. Despite his disingenuous personality, Happy is an insecure man who desperately wants his father's respect and admiration. Happy values Willy's opinion of him, which is why he continually lies to him about his weight loss and future wife.

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In Death of a Salesman, neither Happy nor Biff has lived up to their father’s expectations. The reason for this is not that either young man is a failure, however; the problem is with Willy’s unrealistic standards, which he himself has failed to meet.

In some ways, Hap has suffered more than his older brother because he has stayed in their home town and in close contact with his parents. This proximity gives Willy more opportunities to disparage him. Rather than stand on his feet, however, Happy makes excuses and fantasizes about his future “improvements”—things that he knows his parents want for him, not things that really interest him.

Happy seems to be stuck in arrested development; although he holds down a job, his overall attitude is adolescent rather than adult. The inability of both brothers to communicate with their father is played out at the restaurant, where they make a show of their fraternal unity but only at his expense by deserting him.

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Talking about losing weight and getting married are both examples of things about himself that he wants to change, or thinks are changing.  They are both a fresh start.  He is talking about how he is remaking himself.  He wants to get past his failures and move on.

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I believe so.  Happy has become disillusioned with his father and reveals this to his brother Biff when he returns from out west.  He is concerned about his forgetfulness, his contradictions and his treatment of Linda.  In addition, Happy, as a youngster, lived in the shadow of his brother Biff, the amazing football player.   He seemed overlooked and overshadowed.

As an adult, Happy still feels these same childhoold feelings when Biff returns.  The focus immediately returns to Biff and the prospect of his opening a sporting goods store.  Happy resorts to repeating things that he hopes will earn hims some complimentary attention from his parents.  He says "I'm losing weight!" and "I'm getting married!" because he knows these things will make his parents proud.

Ironically, we know that Happy is not going to be getting married.  His promiscuous lifestyle is documented through his words to Biff and through his behavior towards the girls during the ill-fated dinner scene where he lies about his brother's sports career and his own business successes in order to impress the women.  From this, we can assume that Happy has not lost weight (though it is never exposed that he is heavy) and that he probably will not do so.

Feelings of rejection are difficult to overcome, as we see from Happy's behavior in this play.

 

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