Connecting the Play “Death of a Salesman” with the Problems of Contemporary American Working People

Newsela Article

Learning Objective

Students will be able to: find parallels between the problems of the characters of Willy, his wife, Linda, and their sons, Biff and Happy, in the play “Death of a Salesman” set in the late 1940s, and those of real-life contemporary working Americans.

They will also be able to answer the following Essential Question:

  • How could some of the economic measures to bolster the situation of middle class Americans promoted by President Obama have helped someone like Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman”? Do you think more “attention must finally be paid” to working people in this country, as the character of Linda, Willy’s wife, suggests?  

Learning Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.10
By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.A
Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.

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