Essay Title: 

Dysfunctional Family: Death of a Salesman

March 30, 2016 | Author: | Posted in american literature, literature and language

The Lomans – the Definition of Dysfunction

Nowadays , nearly everybody jokes about his own dysfunctional ‘ family When individuals argue with one another or exhibit idiosyncratic behavior , they are immediately labeled with this term . However , a truly dysfunctional family falls into definable category with discernable characteristics . In literature , the Loman family of Arthur Miller ‘s Death of a Salesman typifies a true dysfunctional family . Steven Farmer lists in his book Adult Children of Abusive Parents several symptoms of dysfunctional families . They include denial unpredictability , lack of empathy , lack of boundaries , role reversals [banner_entry_middle]

mixed messages , extremes in conflict and social isolation (Farmer 2004 . To these , Dr . Dan Neuharth adds emotional intolerance , ridicule and disrespect (Neuharth , 1999 . To combine the categories set forth by these authors , a dysfunctional family would demonstrate the following traits : denial , unpredictable behaviors , poor communication skills which include mixed messages , ridicule and disrespect . The family is also fraught with bizarre and unpredictable behavior patterns which are difficult to deal with due to their inconsistency . These behaviors can include emotional outbursts and a lack of emotion when it may be necessary . Hap seeks comfort in a variety of women , while committing to . Willy sometimes drives around aimlessly without being sure where he is going . He smashes the car time and time again in instances that the insurance company says are not accidents . He holds conversations with people who aren ‘t there . At times , he mumbles , often to Biff which is a source of embarrassment to Hap . To ease his disappointment of not having hit upon the same good fortune as his brother , he holds conversations with his brother Ben . This sort of behavior is indicative of some sort of senility , but the other family members , particularly Hap and Linda , allow it to continue without argument . However , a normally functioning family could work together to deal with family members ‘ behaviors , no matter how strange they may be . This is not the case with the Lomans . They are a family who alternate between placid denial and a lack of concern and emotional outbursts . Denial is a key trait of individuals and families with problems . Both Willy and Linda are heavily weighted by denial . Willy is still able to convince himself that he is well-liked and valuable to his company . Linda although she is aware of the rubber hose in the basement , denies that Willy has a problem and fights valiantly to protect him from conflicts with his two sons . She remarks , upon admitting of the hose ‘s existence to Biff , she reveals that she is ashamed to tell him . How can I mention it to him ? Every day I go down and take away that little rubber pipe . But , when he comes home , I put it back where it was . How can I insult him in that way (Miller 1358 .Willy also commences to plant a vegetable garden in the concrete slab of their back yard . Biff and Hap while probably more aware of their father ‘s bizarre behavior , choose to remain… [banner_entry_footer]


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