What was it like for women during the time period that Death Of A Salesman is set in?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This play is set in 1949, just four years after the end of World War II.

During this time, I would day that the following things were important in terms of women's lives:

  • The end of the war meant that women were being put back into traditionally female roles.  Their jobs at factories and such were being given back to men.
  • Along with this, the baby boom was just starting.  Women were having children and this made it harder for women to have a role other than that of mother, especially in those days.
  • In a sense, life was getting easier as America became extremely prosperous and all sorts of appliances became common in American homes.
  • Prosperity often came at the expense of family life, as husbands were made to be more wrapped up in their work.
mkcapen1 | Student

Women during the time of the era in Death of a Salesman were mostly homemakers.  They were domestic homemakers/housewives.  The women that did work were usually low income or divorces which at the time was rare. 

Willy's wife, Linda, is typical of the women of her day.  She supports her husband emotionally while waiting for his ship to come in.  The women were dependent on the men's income and were victim to the idea that the husband was the man of the house and to be respected.  

While other women were staring to break out in more male oriented roles, the majority of the women were still primarily domestics.  There was also a cultural immersion beginning to take place as universities had started opening their programs to women following the war.  This would lead to the changes and standards that we now see in present day women.

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Death of a Salesman

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