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Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller

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What does "stream of consciousness" mean in act 1 of Death of a Salesman?

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'Stream of consciousness' refers to a literary technique much used by writers from the twentieth century onwards, to capture the actual ebb and flow of a character's thoughts. This lends psychological intensity to the work. This play follows Willy Loman's train of thought, as he thinks back continually to his past, and thus the chronological flow of the play is interrupted. Willy indeed could be said to be more or less living in the past as he is unable to face up to the harsh conditions of his present life. He feels that he and his sons have turned out to be failures and therefore he is always thinking back to earlier times when life was better, and also in an attempt to understand how things went so wrong. This stream of consciousness technique continues almost to the end of the play.

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