Whose Reality? Ways of building a bridge … and burning it
Objective • To understand how Death of a Salesman shows us how people construct alternate realities • Today is mostly new information – we will apply our understanding in writing tomorrow. You’ll need good notes.
Ways of constructing alternate realities • Escapism • Illusion • Dishonesty • Either draw a chart or a concept map with these three ideas as we go. • You can include your own vocab definitions too
1 Escapism • Fantasy • Delusion
Fantasy as escapism • How is the role of fantasy illustrated in Salesman?
Delusion as escapism • Delusion: |diˈloōzhən| noun • an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder : the delusion of being watched. delusions of grandeur a false impression of one's own importance.
Delusion as escapism • Delusion takes escapism a step further. • Willy actually believes these things. • He is delusional about Biff potential for greatness, based solely on his popularity at High School. • What happens when Biff confronts him with the “truth”?
2 Illusion • Based on untruths • Seductive and positive – a ‘refuge’ • Painful to lose – ‘shattered illusions’
Illusion a false idea or belief a deceptive appearance or impression a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses : be under the illusion that be under no illusion (or illusions)
Illusion: based on untruths • Illusions are common: Eg? • Good things happen to good people • What illusion does Willy have about the American dream? • Who indulges his illusion? • What illusions does Biff have of his father? • People take refuge in illusion – from what truth must Willy seek refuge?
Illusions: painful to losewith a partner • Identify a couple of examples of shattered illusions in Salesman. • Use this graphic for each character: • How do you think those illusions came to be/why did the characters develop them? • How do those characters respond when those illusions are shattered?
3 Dishonesty • Constructing facades • Manipulating appearances • Evasion • Deceiving oneself and others • Denying, rejecting or manipulating the truth
Dishonesty: evasion& denial • How does Willy evade the truth? • The implications of his evasion is that he has become increasingly deluded as to his success. • Willy is in denial about his reality and lies to maintain his dignity. • What is the alternative?
Dishonesty: rejection of the truth • What makes some truths unbearable? • Which truths does Willy reject? • What are the implications of this? • Homework: • Can you find quotes (famous or from the text) that illustrate how people can reject difficult truths?
Dishonesty: manipulating the truth • How does Willy manipulate the truth? • The manipulated truths favour those who created them. Their dishonesty is designed to improve their reality. • What are the consequences of his lies?
Summary • To understand how Death of a Salesman shows us how people construct alternate realities • Use a table to chronologically list Willy’s lies and exaggerations .
BIFF • With his illusion of his father shattered, Biff comes to understand that his father is deluded and dishonest. • ‘The man don’t know who we are!... We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house.’ • Why does he confront Willy? • What is Willy’s response?
PSYCHOLOGY • Biff touches his father’s SENSITIVE LINE • SELF AWARENESS (COMFORT ZONE) • SENSITIVE LINE : PSYCHOLOGICAL DISCOMFORT OR PAIN • BLIND SPOT (COMFORT ZONE)
WRITING • Write about a time when your own sensitive line has been crossed • OR • Write about a time when you crossed someone else’s sensitive line • How did you feel? • How did you react? • How did others respond?
Scoring • UNDERSTANDING RUBRIC • 4 - Advanced: I am able to explain the content of today’s lesson by providing my own examples and using the correct vocabulary. I am able to extend and connect the content to other ideas and areas of study. I could confidently teach other students about today’s learning goal. • 3 - Proficient: I am able to explain the content of today’s lesson by applying the examples from class. I am able to use the correct vocabulary. I am able to complete the application task to show this understanding. • 2 - Basic: I can sort of explain the content of today’s lesson by mostly using the examples provided. I still have some questions about what was covered. I need to use synonyms rather than the correct vocabulary. I needed the teacher’s help with the application task but was able to complete it. • 1 - Low: I’m not sure about what was covered. I still need the teacher’s help to achieve the learning goal.