Dear people, My name is Biff Loman. I am a 52-year-old farmer. I am a very realistic and happy person, but this has not always been the case…My father had chosen to imitate the salesman side of his father, an unwise choice after all. I don’t say he should have let go this dream, but it went too far, he was unrealistic, we all were, the four of us. Even I was.
I believed what he said, I thought it was true, that I could be a salesman, just like he was. My brother Happy, and I, had those great plans. A feasible idea it was, at least I thought so at that moment. We wanted to sell sporting goods, have a line, the Loman Line. We wanted to form two basketball teams, two water-polo teams, play each other, two brothers, the Loman Brothers. At that time I thought it was a one-million-dollar idea. It sounded like a beautiful proposition. It wouldn’t be like business. We would be out playing ball again, like we did when we were still in school. There was nobody who could take away our, so called, beautiful idea.
My father encouraged us to work out this great idea, because he knew one way or another we were going to make it. He saw great things for us, he thought our troubles would be over and he gave us a lot of advice. My brother and I planned to go to Bill Oliver, a former employer, to lend some money. Ten thousand, I thought, would be top though, but my father said we started too low. According to him, we should start big and we would end big. Ask for fifteen and it would be all right. That was what we planned to do.
Only a few days later, I realized what an unrealistic idea that was. I wanted to tell my father about it, but he wouldn’t listen. I was never a salesman for Bill Oliver, like my father always made me believe. I was a shipping clerk, nothing more. When I went to see Bill Oliver, I kept sending in my name but he wouldn’t see me. I ran down eleven flights and suddenly I stopped. I stopped in the middle of the building and I saw the sky, the things that I love in this world. The work and the food and time to sit and smoke. I asked myself why I was trying to become someone I didn’t want to be.
I didn’t want to be a salesman. All I wanted was out there. I loved to work outside, for example the farm work I did in the West when I was still going through dozens of jobs. I was a dime a dozen, and so was my father, but he didn’t believe me.
It was only then I realized what a ridiculous lie my life had been. My father’s illusions of success were just illusions and nothing more. Up to that moment I had spent my life trying to live up to a vision of myself that had never really existed. I was deceiving myself, and so were my brother and father. I never got anywhere, for my father blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody. I realized it was time for change. From that moment on I became realistic.
Unfortunately, my father never did. He always believed he had been a great salesman. He had a dream. The only dream one could have, to come out number-one man. He was too driven by his own thoughts to recognize the real world. He wanted me to fulfill the American Dream, because he himself failed to achieve it.
He failed to achieve it, because he had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong. He never knew who he was. Sometimes when he came home from a trip, he finished the cellar, put on a new porch, made the front stoop, built an extra bathroom and put up the garage. There was more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made. He was wonderful with his hands. He should have become a carpenter. That would have made him happier than he ever was. He never took this opportunity, instead he became very unhappy and thought he was worth more dead than alive. At the age of 63 he started a car and moved away at full speed. He never did that again, because during these few minutes he ended his life.
My father always believed the key to success was to be well-liked and to have a contract. Being popular meant a lot to him, therefore I believed personality always prevailed. Now I know these are all false values. Being popular doesn’t mean a lot to me anymore. Being happy is more important, and I don’t need a lot of money for that. I still remember the way my uncle Ben got rich. At the age of 17, he walked into a jungle and at the age of 21 he came out rich. Of course it is not impossible, but for someone to walk into a jungle with no skills, nor any sense of direction, there is no guarantee he will get rich.
Being rich is not the most important thing in the world. It is ones family that counts most. I have had lots of arguments with my father, and I am sorry for that. But I hope you realize what a mistake I have made in the past. Luckily I have solved this mistake for myself. I am settled, I have a beautiful job, a caring wife and two lovely children, but I will never forget what has happened to my father.
You may dream, but don’t let your dreams dominate your life…
Rationale written task based on literature
Title: Speech by Biff Loman (on Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller).
Area of communication and type of text: Mass communication; a speech.
Subject: The speech I wrote is about Biff Loman, one of the characters in ‘Death Of A Salesman’, explaining about his life and about his father.
Audience: Biff is holding a speech in front of a group of people (30-50 year old), who have not achieved in life what they wanted to achieve, because they have listened too much to what their parents wanted them to do. Their parents listen to this speech as well.
Context: Biff Loman, now a 52-year-old farmer, holds a speech about his life and about his father. His thoughts and ideas about life have changed a lot, compared to what we read in Death Of A Salesman. He has become a very realistic person and explains this in the speech. I have chosen to start the speech with a little introduction, for people to know how old Biff is right now and what he is doing.
First of all, he starts talking about his father, who chose to imitate the salesman side of his father. I specifically wanted to start with this subject, his father, because his father had a big influence on Biffs’ life. With the lines ‘he was unrealistic, we all were, the four of us. Even I was.’ I want people to become aware of his past. This sentence is the beginning of the rest of his speech, in which there are a lot of examples for him being unrealistic in the past.
Through the whole speech Biff is letting us know that he has become realistic, as we can see in ‘at least I thought so at that moment’. He tells about how his father encouraged his brother Happy and him to become salesmen. I have chosen to use some sentences out of the play to emphasize Biffs’ language, like in ‘We wanted to sell sporting goods, have a line, the Loman Line’, in ‘a one-million-dollar idea’ and in ‘would be top though’.
There is a turning point in his speech when Biff says ‘only a few days later, I realized what an unrealistic idea that was’. He realizes what he loves and enjoys most and he explains this to his audience. From this time on he is very realistic about himself and about his father. He explains how his father ‘was too driven by his own thoughts to recognize the real world’, what he should have done instead and how his fathers’ false values had ended his fathers’ life.
I also included the story about uncle Ben, who walked into the jungle at the age of 17 and came out rich at the age of 21, because this is a very important story in the play.
Purpose: With this speech, I think I have shown that I really understood the situation Biff was in and how difficult it was for him to develop, because his father thought his own ideas were much better than Biffs’ ideas. Biff never really wanted to be a salesman, he always loved to work outside. Some time before his father died, Biff became realistic, like we can read in ‘It was only then I realized what a ridiculous lie my life had been’. From this time on I knew Biff could get so much more out of his life, therefore I chose to call him a 52-year-old farmer, which actually states that he has followed his dreams and that he has listened to himself. Next to that he says that he is ‘a very realistic and happy person’ right now.
The purpose of his speech therefore is to tell people that being rich is not the most important thing He knows that, because being a farmer in those days would mean you wouldn’t be rich, but it made him very happy. He is very happy because he has ‘a beautiful job, a caring wife and two lovely children’ and he tells the audience that ‘it is ones family that counts most’. I wanted to mention this, because I agree with this statement, therefore parts of this speech represent my thoughts and ideas in life.
I think the best way to inform people about such a matter is to give a speech by someone who has not listened to himself in the past, but who has changed now and who experiences what a good choice he has made. It impresses people even more when someone has experienced it personally, therefore Biff holds this speech. His final sentence ‘You may dream, but don’t let your dreams dominate your life…’ is a statement I want to make. It fits perfectly in his speech, because Biff has just told in his speech that being realistic is very important.