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Death of a Salesmen - Seed

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Caroline Robson

on 9 July 2013

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Transcript of Death of a Salesmen - Seed

Symbolism of Seeds
Seeds and Symbolism
Symbolism - when an object or person that represents an idea. There is a deeper meaning that lies behind the object or person as written literally in the text.

Seeds and plants play a very important role in the play, "Death of a Salesmen." They are used as a major symbol.
What Do the Seeds Really Mean?
Arthur Miller brings up seeds and growing plants quite a few times throughout the play. Willy always insists on buying seeds and planting them. This is purposely done to show that there is a deeper meaning behind them.

The seeds generally symbolize how Willy's life and feels about his role as a salesman and a father.
Quote #1 -
Willy: "The grass don't grow there anymore, you can't raise a carrot in the back yard... Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there? When I and Biff hung the swing from them?" (Miller, 17)

Literal Meaning -

A man simply talking about how the yard can't grow anything anymore. However, there is a hidden meaning to this quote.
Quote #2 -
Willy: "On the way home tonight, I'd like to buy some seeds... Linda: "Not enough sun gets back there. Nothing'll grow anymore" (Miller, 72).
Literal Meaning -
A man simply wishes to buy seeds and plant them when his wife states it's a bad spot to grow anything. However, there is a hidden meaning behind this quote.
Symbolic Meaning -
The constant desire for Willy go out and buy seeds and grow them symbolizes how Willy thrives to prove his worth as his position as a salesman and a father. The seeds symbolize how Willy is trying to work his way up in life. By planting seeds, it symbolizes how Willy attempts to begin a new life.

The physical seed symbolizes Willy and the reality of his external life (not well liked, hidden from world, much like an underground seed). Planting them symbolizes internally how he wishes to grow as a person.
Symbolic Meaning (continued) -
Linda tells Willy, "Nothing'll grow here anymore," which symbolizes Willy's failure and shame of not being able to provide for his family or leave anything behind for his children.
Quote #3 -
Willy: "Nothing's planted, I don't have a thing in the ground" (Miller, 122).
Literal Meaning -
A man realizes that he needs to plant something in his empty garden. There is, however, an underlined message in what Willy is saying.
Symbolic Meaning -
By Willy saying that he does not have a thing in the ground symbolizes his sons and their future as well as Willy's failure as a father and salesman. He tried to raise his sons by his own values and beliefs, but they grew to disappoint him. Therefore Willy did not "plant" his legacy to his sons. Willy also did not succeed as a salesman which means he did not leave anything behind to be remembered by. "Nothing's planted" symbolizes Willy's empty life.
Symbolic Meaning -
Willy is actually reflecting upon his relationship with his son, Biff, from the past and present. He is also talking about how the opportunity to achieve his own dreams can no longer flourish.

"The grass don't grow anymore" symbolizes how Willy's hopes and dreams for his own personal success and Biff's are dead, much like the grass.

"Remember the two beautiful elm trees" symbolizes the strong and close relationship Willy and Biff once had. In the past it was a close bond and beautiful like the trees. Biff then did not fulfill Willy's dreams and turned out a failure, they now have a weak relationship, like the dead grass. The beautiful elm trees (close relationship) is no longer there.
By: Caroline Robson
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