Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kip Reads More Classics: Death of a Salesman

Kip says: "The worst thing about Death of a Salesman is that the title gives too much away. If you're wondering if the salesman lives or dies, don't bother. He dies. Other than that, it's pretty good. Willy Loman is a salesman and once he had big dreams but now he's old and nobody cares anymore. He's got two sons, Happy and Biff. I first learned about Biff Loman from jokes on Seinfeld, which I assume is the case for many of us. Willy wants the sons to follow in his father's footsteps, but they don't respect him anymore and feel they might be better off working outdoors on a ranch somewhere, which is something I often feel myself when the pressures of academia weigh me down. It's a powerful story about the American Dream and I recommend it so long as you don't mind knowing the ending in advance. Oh, yeah, and it's a play. Acting is a silly profession, with all that pretending, but at the same time it's nice to have somebody doing the reading for you and acting out what you see in your head. Except sometimes it's a lot different. Dustin Hoffman is often associated with the role of Willy, but that's not how I think of Willy at all. I see him as bigger, more imposing, and I'd like to see someone like maybe...Dog the Bounty Hunter tackle that role."


Dr. C said...

It's funny how Kip's persona is sometimes like this polo-playing intellectually erudite fop, and sometimes like your average slack-jawed cretinous ruralite. If he could only get his humors in balance, he'd probably give off better pheromones.

dr. jekyll or mr. hyde? said...

Well, as we learned from Kip's biography (currently out-of-print), he is indeed engaged in a constant struggle between the part of him that wants to sit at the Pig discussing Truth, and Art, and Beauty, and the part that feels like he belongs in Fort Scott at the mudpull competitions. Every weekend, the latter part is winning. But Art always wins in the end.