Death of a Salesman & Brother Dear Comparison Essay

Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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Throughout the constant journey of life you are often under pressure. There is pressure to satisfy, pressure you put on yourself and the pressure that other people put on you. Throughout the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and the short story “Brother Dear” by Bernice Friesen, the characters find themselves facing these pressures on a daily basis. Both plotlines show how people can experience these pressures, for all different reasons, during various times in their life. In Death of a Salesman, Biff, a son of the main character, Willy, is struggling with the pressure to impress his father and satisfy him.

Willy is constantly complaining about Biff, saying he is a bum and is not good. One day Biff decides he is going to try to go into business, just like his father, hoping to make Willy happy. He speaks to his mother about this, “It’s just-you see, Mom, I don’t fit in business. Not that I won’t try. I’ll try, and I’ll make good” (Miller 60). Biff knows that he will not be successful in the business world and that it is not for him, but he is going to try it anyways just so his Dad will be proud of him.

The pressure to satisfy his father is so big that Biff is willing to do something he does not want to do just to make him happy. Similarly, in “Brother Dear” Greg is also under the pressure to satisfy his father. Greg wants to be a member of Green Peace, plant trees, and save the planet, while his father expects him to go to University, like his older brother, and make something of himself. His younger sister Sharlene explains, “He’s in pre-law at university, but his marks are crap.

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I think he went into law just because Dennis did and Dad hasn’t stopped sheering” (Friesen 3). Just like Biff, Greg is doing something he is uninterested in just to make his Dad happy and proud. Schneider 2 Coming to the end of Death of a Salesman, Biff finally, after all of the hurt and stress, puts some pressure on himself to confront his father. “I stole myself out of every good job since high school! ” “And whose fault is that? ” “And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody!

That’s whose fault it is! ” (Miller 131) All of Biff’s pressure makes him blow and tell his father the truth about why he has never been successful. Greg’s father in “Brother Dear” is constantly putting pressure on Greg to do good in school and make something of himself. However Greg does not want to do what his Dad wants, but what he wants. Eventually, after years of pressure, Greg applies pressure onto himself to tell his father his real plans. He tells his Dad how he got a job planting trees for the summer, so he no longer has to pay his rent anymore.

When his father questions how he will make enough money for rent and tuition Greg responds saying, “I’m not going back to school” (Friesen 4). Just like Biff, Greg makes himself confess and tell his father the truth about his life. Throughout Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman has a huge amount of pressure on him from his family and those around him. He has pressure from his wife to get money to pay bills, pressure from his sons to “get himself together” and pressure from hid friends to do better. All of this pressure makes Willy act crazy.

One day, while he was asking a friend for a loan he states, “Funny y’know? After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive” (Miller 98). Willy is implying the he in under so much pressure, he often wishes he were dead so he could be relieved. Schneider 3 In “Brother Dear”, Sharlene, Greg’s younger sister, is also feeling the pressure in her family to get an education and be something. Like Greg, she has dreams of her own. “…next year’s grade twelve, then it’s escape to the University of Alberta…Like Dad wants.

I have dreams of running off to Europe for a couple of years, being a nanny and learning a language or two…I’ll tell Dad I’ll do the university thing when I get back. He’ll probably explode anyways” (Friesen 2). Sharlene is torn between following her dreams or doing as Daddy wants. Overall, throughout life you often have pressure put on you. The characters in both Death of a Salesman and “Brother Dear” are all under the pressure to satisfy, the pressure of themselves and the pressure of others. Whether the pressure be to get a job, go to school or be something, they all experience pressures throughout their journey of life.

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Death of a Salesman & Brother Dear Comparison Essay. (2017, Dec 20). Retrieved from

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