Friday, June 7, 2013

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller L.A.


1. So we are quickly introduced to the main characters of the story, Willy, Biff, and Happy.They're just an average American Family looking to make ends meat. At this point Willy is returning from a Salesman trip but has come home empty handed and is exhausted. We are introduced to his sons Biff and Happy and although he critisizes them he still loves them and is very proud of them. Later that day when Biff and Happy are alone we get to hear the first instances of the American Dream when Happy and Biff are talking about the future. Also later that night Willy starts having flashbacks and talking to himself and it wakes the whole family and Linda soon tells the sons that Willy has tried to commit suicide before. They start talking about a new idea and how theyre life will turn around and they go to sleep thinking tomorrow will bring them new prosperity. The next Act begins with Willy waking up a couple hours later than his sons who are out and about. Willy goes to Howard looking to get a job in New York so he doesnt have to travel everyday but instead Howard fires him telling him that he needs to take a break. He then begins to hallucinate and heads off to meet his sons for dinner. At the restaurant Happy and Biff are talking and Biff explains his whole experience to Happy about how Oliver didnt even know who he was and how their idea was crushed. He couldnt bring himself to tell his dad and they leave with two girls leaving Willy all alone talking to himself. At this point Willy is losing his mind and goes to get seeds to plant in his yard. They go home and Biff talks to Willy about how a bad father he was and says he leave in the morning and never come home, but while crying and Willy sees this crying to him as a sign that he really does love him and in that instance he drives off into the night and we dies. The scene ends with them at Willy's grave looking down. The author captures the idea of the falsity of the American Dream in this novel by showing how this family who is filled with high hopes of the future is quickly struck down.
2. The theme of the play is the falsity of American Dream and how there are high hopes for families in America but not everyones want are met.
3. The authors tone is very serious because he is describing the false hopes and the downfall of an American family in this play. "Oh, Ben, how do we get back to all the great times? Used to be so full of light, and comradeship, the sleigh-riding in winter, and the ruddiness on his cheeks." This shows that the tone is serious because all the good times are in the past now.
4. Metaphor - "Hes only a little boat looking for a harbour"
    Rethorical Question - "Willy: You see what I been talking about? The greatest things can happen!"
    Repetition - Happy is consistently telling the line: "I lost weight, Pop, you notice?"
    Simile - "He's not allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog."
    Imagery - "Gee, look at the moon moving between the buildings."
    Setting - "A melody is heard, played upon a flute. It is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and     the horizon."
    Symbolism - The flute is a symbolism for the life he could have with his and elder Loman making flutes for a living and doing well as a salesman.
    Characterization - "He is a stolid man, in his sixties, with a moustache and an authoritative air."


1. Indirect Characterization - "Bernard can get the best marks in school, y'understand, but when he gets out in the the budiness world, y'understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him. so bernard is book smart but not street smart."   "I know it when i walk in. they seem to laugh at me..., Im fat. im very - foolish to look at..." (shows Willy is self conscious.
    Direct Characterization - "He is a large man, slow of speech, laconic, immovable."     "Bernard enters in knickers. He is younger than Biff, earnest and loyal, a worried boy."
Aurther uses both indirect and direct characterization to show a better characterization of the character because its kind of like the saying two heads are better than one.
2. I don't really think that it does because the story is pretty serious the whole time and taking away from that seriousness could really offset the play. Except for in a few instances describing Happy because he is so laid back and carefree.
3. The protagonist is obviously Willy and I think that he is dynamic throughout the story because he begins as a man with a dream to become rich as a salesman and nothing could stop him but as the stroy goies on he soon realizes that that dream is becoming less and less likely and starts to give up and lose his way and sense of self and his hopes.
4. After reading this book I have definitely felt like I have walked away meeting not just a person but a whole family. The American Dream is that just a dream and inorder to go far you have to work for it, it wont just happen and reading about this family failing has really got me to think about that dream and i have learned a lout about this fiction family and have really felt like I have met them because of they hardships they have endured.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Death of a Salesman Act Two Active Reading Notes

  • Act begins in the morning after Willy has woken up at 10
  • He says that it was the best sleep hes had in months
  • Willy is always looking toward the future and what he wants to do in the future
  • Just like an average american family he starts talking about his appliances failing when you pay them off and like its timed, well at least i think like that
  • metaphor - Hes only a little boat looking for a harbour
  • It seems now that in act two their life is starting to turn around  
  • Howard introduces a tape recorder of some sort to Willy 
  • Willy is trying to get a job from Howard but he keeps turning him down even though they have been friends for a long time 
    • shows that Howard has the mindset of a true business man, do what is best for the business no matter what
  • Introduces the idea of death of a salesman here with - "When he died - and by the way he died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers in the smoker of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford, going into Boston - when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral.
  • Willy is fired from his job but Ben offers him a new job in Alaska
  • They all go to Biffs football game 
    • Willy is very proud of Biff and is proud to be the dad of the captain.
    • it seems that all though he hasnt really accomplished much himself his sons have bright fututres and it almost seems like he is jealous of them or wish he could have that
    • Also though he wants his sons to grow up and be very successful at the same time
  • Willy is still arguing with himself as if he was talking to Charley 
    • Willy is getting worse and worse and it seems that the stress is taking a huge toll on him
  • Willy is lying to Bernard about Biff and his job he is trying to get just to make Biff look greater
  • Willy is headstrong 
  • He is starting to get more and more desperate for money as things just keep not going his way and everything else is going for everybody else. true story of the american dream
  • So Biff went to get the job idea to Oliver but he realized that Oliver didnt really know him at all and that the plan was going downhill but he didnt want to tell Pop because he doesnt want him to lose himself again
  • Biff has a hard time telling Willy what happened becuase he doesnt want to disappoint him
    • you can tell because he stutters alot while talking and can quite get it out
  • Setting - The light green leaves stains the house, which holds the air of night and a dream
  • They keep going into the past to a show what happened like during the football game and the time they tell he flunked math
  • Actually Willy keeps seeing what happens in the past and thats why he hears the voices and is talking to himself
  • two girls walk in Mrs forsythe from before and Letta
  • Willy is having his own episode while everything else is going on 
    • its like two stories are going on at the same time. hard to tell since its a play
  • Who is "The woman" in his falshback
  • Willy cheated on his wife with a girl along time ago and is remembering it
  • Music is heard, Willys theme
    • apparently willy has his own theme music haha
  • The flute starts again
  • Willy at this point is slowly losing his mind
  • Tone - Oh, Ben, how do we get back to all the great times? Used to be so full of light, and comradeship, the sleigh-riding in winter, and the ruddiness on his cheeks. 
    • shows that it is serious and that its a bad time right now
  • Biff leaves his father in one of the worst possible ways i can think of and it shows the tone also in this story of the american dream
  • Ben is like an imaginary friend to Willy
  • Willy drives off into the night and crashes this time killing him
  • its later and the family is all staring down at the grave as they look at Willys grave

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Death of a Salesman Act One Active Reading Notes

  • immediately hit with personification and scenery "A melody is heard, played upon a flute. it is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and the horizon. "
  • brought into the house through imagery
  • wholly?
  • Like how this story is told as a play
    • gives it that certain feeling to it(dont know how to describe it)
  • The Salesman is Willy Loman 
  • Flute noise have significance?
  • Linda - wife of Willy
  • "Im tired to the death" flute has faded away... forshadow maybe
  • Willy has returned from Florida only to think he has to leave again even though he is exhausted
  • Linda is very loving and cares for her husband
  • Willy loves nature and daydreams while he is driving during his journey
  • Happy and Biff are Willy's 2 sons
  • It seems that they all straggling for money but too early to tell
  • Willy loves his sons but criticizes them for their behavior
  • Willy is definitely stressed out in the beginning of the play
  • lilac? wistaria?
  • The flute appears again
    • seems to happen when hes calmer
  • Biff is two years older than Happy
    • Biff is the more hard worker and the handsome one than Happy 
    • They both have very different interests
    • they both are lost though but just in different ways
  • Biff and Happy are very close
  • Biff notices that Willy has been acting strange lately
  • "I've always made a point of not wasting my life, and everytime i come back here i know that all i've done is to waste my life" (Biff)
  • both idealists
  • Its basically the life of an average working household
  • Biff plays football 
  • Willy is proud of his sons but wants to be a better dad and have a better job.
  • Setting is still at home
  • Happy is basically like the most popular kid at school
  • direct characterization (Bernard enters in knickers. He is younger than Biff, earnest and loyal, a worried boy)
  • indirect characterization Bernard can get the best marks in school, y'understand, but when he gets out in the the budiness world, y'understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him. so bernard is book smart but not street smart
  • Happy seems to need attention and approval from people 
  • Indirect characterization (I know it when i walk in. they seem to laugh at me..., Im fat. im very - foolish to look at...) Willy is a very self conscious person
  • Metaphor - There was a man started with the clothes on his back and ended up with diamond mines (Hyperbole probably)
  • Direct Characterization - " He is a large man, slow of speech, laconic, immovable."
  • "You sneeze in here, and in my house hats blow off"
  • Metaphor - When a deposit bottle is broken you don't get your nickel back
  • characterization - He is a stolid man, in his sixties, with a moustache and an authoritative air.
  • stolid?
  • authoritative air? - 
  • Charley and Willy talk about traveling for most of their talk
  • kind of confused on the whole who died part of act one
  • Retohrical question - WILLY: You see what i been talking about? the greatest things can happen!
  • Flute comes up again. symbolism but for what?
  • Repetition - HAPPY is consistently telling the line: I lost weight, Pop, you notice?
  • Once again Willy needs to prove himself to other people that are higher than him and this time by telling Ben that he is going to get his sons and rebuild the porch right away
  • Ben is always telling the story of how he went into the jungle at 17 and came out 21. 
    • Did he really go into jungle or is jungle just a word for the life of a new worker?
  • Willy keeps talking to himself
  • Simile - "He's not allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog"
  • We find out that Willy has been trying to kill himself for a while now
  • Happy comes up with an idea to open a sporting goods store and have the two brothers compete against each other for publicity
  • imagery - Gee, look at the moon moving between the buildings.
  • The Whole first act is barely even one day 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Multiple Choice Practice

Some more multiple choice practice with 1999 AP Literature and Composition Exam

Here are my answers:

  1. B
  2. B
  3. C
  4. E
  5. B
  6. D
  7. A
  8. C
  9. E
10. B
11. D
12. E
13. C
14. D
15. C
16. C
17. A
18. C
19. E
20. D
21. D
22. A
23. B
24. C
25. B
26. C
27. B
28. E
29. D
30. B
31. E
32. B
33. E
34. A
35. A
36. C
37. C
38. D
39. E
40. B
41. E
42. D
43. D
44. A
45. A
46. B
47. A
48. B
49. D
50. C
51. B
52. C
53. D
54. E
55. B

Question One (Poems)

I felt that the most trouble I have with essays is a strong intro so I decided to spend most of my effort on the intro

Question 1
(Suggested time—40 minutes. This question counts as one-third of the total essay section score.)
In the two poems below, Keats and Longfellow reflect on similar concerns. Read the poems carefully. Then write an essay in which you compare and contrast the two poems, analyzing the poetic techniques each writer uses to explore his particular situation.

When I Have Fears
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think 
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

1818 —John Keats (1795-1821)
Mezzo Cammin
Written at Boppard on the Rhine August 25, 1842,
Just Before Leaving for Home
Half of my life is gone, and I have let
The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
The aspiration of my youth, to build
Some tower of song with lofty parapet.
Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret
Of restless passions that would not be stilled,
But sorrow, and a care that almost killed,
Kept me from what I may accomplish yet;
Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past
Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights,—
A city in the twilight dim and vast,
With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights,—
And hear above me on the autumnal blast
The cataract
of Death far thundering from the heights.
1842 —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
The title is from the first line of Dante’s
Divine Comedy“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita” (“Midway upon the journey of our life”).
A large waterfall

Death is imminent, there is no doubt about that and after death comes there is nothing we can do to check any unchecked boxes from our bucket list. There is always the fear of dying, yes, but the even greater fear is having regrets on how one lives his or her life and whether they lived it to the fullest or not. 
“When I Have Fears” by John Keats and “Mezzo Cammin” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow are to poems that depict the fears and doubts of the choices of life and whether they have done what they have wanted in the little time that has been given to him. Each poem uses strong poetic and literary techniques to further accentuate this fear and uneasiness toward this theme. Keats has his own diction and Wadsworth Longfellow has his own tone and through each of these author’s unique diction, tone and form they are able to convey the situation and the theme of their respected poems.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Literature Analysis 3

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

  1. So in the novel Pi is telling the story to an author who wants to document his experience and so he begins with the beginning. Piscine was born and was made fun of at school because his name sounded like “pissing” and that is why he changed his name to Pi. He grows up and he gets on a boat to travel with all the zoo animals his father owns. But something bad happens. A terrible storm sinks the boat except for Pi, a bengal tiger, an orangutang, a hyeina, and a zebra. The hyeina kills the zebra and the orangutang and the tiger eventually kills the hyena, leaving just Pi and the tiger on the boat, who Pi calls Richard Parker. Now Pi realizes in order to survive he has to tame the tiger which he for the most part successfully does and they go through many hardships. After a while at sea they eventually come across an island which has a weird feel to it. During the day it is an unlimited source of food, water and shelter but at night some chemical turns all the water into poison and makes it hard to live there so Pi and Richard Parker set sail again. They eventually make it to an island and Pi is interogatted on the events that occured during his journey. The Japanese interogators don’t believe this story and so Pi decides to tell a different one. The other one involves his mother, a cook, a sailor and himself that are trapped on the boat and only he survives. We are left wondering which is the true story and it is up to us to decide.
  2. I believe the theme of this novel is somewhat odd and ill explain. I couldn’t think of a better word than belief. Our beliefs dictate who we are and there are two sides to this novel; one a believable one and one that is not so believable. So which one is the truth? The theme belief is the belief of religion and belief in what you believe to be true.
  3. The tone in this book is very serious but also has something else that i can’t quite put a finger on. Its very serious in the fact that so many things go wrong and Pi has to go against his beliefs in order to survive and he has to kill and survive. But on the other hand it also has a “storytelling” tone and sometimes humorous tone to lighten the mood. 
  4. The literary techniques I recongized most in this novel are symbolism, tone, figurative language, setting, theme, imagery, point of view, diction and i guess you could say personification.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3 Journal Topic

I think the most i could like to improve on over the weekend is my multiple choice area because that is where i fell the most vulnerable during the accutal exam. This weekend i am planning on trying to practice pacing myself better because i found that on especially last years AP English Test, i was rushed and I really don't want to feel that way this year (for obvious reasons). So I am really going to try and focus on the pacing portion of my test taking skills.