An essay on making use of dashes in Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman The dash is a helpful device, casual and essentially spirited, informing you that you will take off on a various tack however still in some way gotten in touch with the present course– just you need to keep in mind that the dash is there, and either put a second dash at the end of the idea to let the reader understand that he’s back on course, or else end the sentence, as here, with a duration.
__ Lewis Thomas
How does an author– an excellent author– convey epiphanies exactly so that it’s grammatically proper for– eureka!– a dash is utilized– positioned so– to communicate, develop– a state of mind, feeling, tone– a character feels– whilst saying a line, monologue– even an exclamation– wherein characters experience a lot of sensation and– dominance is suggested when a line is ended by a dash– disturbance in other words– by another character– permitting the reader to see– feel– the personality– qualities, qualities– of a character subtlety.
This basic line– the dash– is a lots of faceted gem– a treasure– that can be used to highlight many ideas– essential terms– certain occasions jump off the page because of making use of a dash– rather than an ellipsis– causes an obvious break– a sharp break– unlike that of an ellipsis– which immediately releases the impression of abruptness– just as it appears aesthetically– a sharp-edged line in the center of a line that breaks the fluidity of words– simply as the dash in a sentence breaks the flow of idea or discussion.
Dashes– menial as they are– provide compound to a pause, break– charging it with emotion and significance– no number of words might do the same. Although dashes may seem like a punctuation mark so seldom utilized, it is an essential tool in writing discussions. The dash represents a discontinuation of a desired declaration– a visual representation of the quickly hindered trail of a train of thought– permits the writer to interrupt characters– as is typical in a typical discussion– like most of Linda and Willy’s conversations.
Linda’s lines are often ended by a dash– disturbed by another speaker– subtlety notifying the reader of Linda’s subservient character. The dashes indicate the abruptness of Willy’s disruptions– consequently insinuating that he doesn’t listen to her– consisting of times when she expresses her love for him– clarifying that Willy’s view– habits– towards Linda is rather bad- which in turn personifies Willy’s personality. “Linda: You are, Willy. The handsomest guy. You have actually got no factor to feel that- Willy: I’ll make it all approximately you, Linda, I’ll- Linda: There’s nothing to make up, dear.
You’re doing fine, better than- Willy: What’s that? Linda: Simply fixing my stockings. They’re so pricey- Willy: I won’t have you repairing socks in this home! Now throw them out!” (Page 39) This entire conversation develops the relationship in between Willy and Linda– Willy being the dominant– though insensible– one, while Linda is the subservient– although quite practical one– in addition to offering insight to Willy’s guilt over the woman– all done with four properly positioned dashes at the end of a character’s lines. However, dashes are not just useful at the end of lines but in the middle of a sentence also.
Just as the dash on the page is a break from the stream of words– a break in the voice is represented by a dash on the page. Hence, when a character is overcome by emotions, a dash is placed in the appropriate place in the sentence’s structure and a sensation of overwhelming parts is conveyed to the reader. In a terrible play such as Death of a Salesperson, the proper use of the dash is vital to develop specific key discussions– and the significance of the sensations of the character– and their significance in the general meaning of the story line.
Such a discussion is seen when Willy is verified of Biff’s love (Page 133)– where there was positioned four dashes upon the page– in the period of the discussion– each of which insinuates a good deal of emotion. It is these emotions that assist construct the disaster in the plot– characterizing Willy and Biff while doing so. When Biff tells his mama– or whoever it is he is speaking to– to put Willy to bed– “Put him-put him to bed.”– the dash worries the exhaustion that Biff feels– his inability to finish his sentence indicates a deep taking care of his dad– a frustrating emotion.
It is the strength of this emotion that astonishes Willy and awakens Willy to the fact that Biff still likes him, and the following lines he says are also broken with dashes– so choked with love and limitless happiness is he– “That boy-that kid is going to be splendid!” (Page 133). These declarations foreshadow Willy’s choice to eliminate himself for the sake of his kids– making an effect– greater or equivalent to that of– Willy’s statement on page 98– where he specifies “After all highways, and the trains, and the consultations, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.
” Both statements indicate that Willy is going to devote suicide, betting each other. The quote on page 98 establishes that Willy was thinking about the option– the possibility– while the discussion with Ben– prior to Biff’s outburst– acknowledges the reason for Willy’s resistance and indecisiveness– the impact the suicide would leave on Biff– the opinion that Biff would have of him later.
Therefore, when Willy is used that which is all he truly desires– his life as it was before, with a loving relationship with his Adonis son and the affection that this child when had for him– through Biff’s thoughtful voice and tears– Willy makes a definite option as to what he plans to do– first seen in his line “That boy-that young boy is going to be magnificent!” (Page 133). It is this line that solves the inner dispute that Willy feels over Biff and over his absence of success– it is in this line that Willy decides to eliminate himself.
Without the use of the dashes, the emotions would not have been conveyed to the reader appropriately– losing its power and significance in the total storyline. Another substantial line– rush– in the play– though not necessarily filled with emotion– starts Biff’s trip into awareness and fact. A dash can represent a resistance– altering of mind– regarding what must be said to convey the ideas– and sometimes feelings– of the character.
“I inform ya, Hap, I do not understand what the future is. I do not know-what I’m expected to desire.” The dash before “what I’m expected to want,” allows the reader to understand that Biff’s uneasyness and lack of success is not failure– not in the true sense of the word, for Biff would have to really attempt– hence desire– success in order to stop working. Biff’s definition of success is different to that of his household’s and this makes him uneasy– insecure regarding what his life really implies.
This dash enables the reader to acknowledge that Biff is at a loss of exact words to specify what he implies and the thoughts running through his head. It is this pause that alters the overall meaning of the sentence– without the time out, the sentence would pass over– undetected. The pause– dash– underlines Biff’s unpredictability which continues throughout the play– till Biff realizes the absurdity of his situation and awakens. The dash informs the reader that here lies Biff’s conflict– this dash is the resolution in which the conflict is introduced.
The dash– is the conflict. As a contemporary disaster, Death of a Salesperson is– when broken down– an informal play, therefore the dash is the ideal punctuation for the certain scenarios -and sentences– that required to be highlighted in the subconscious. The dash evokes an awareness that is subtle– moving underneath our mind’s eye– to implant ideas– feelings and sensations– therefore creating significance to an event– or expression. When a dash is utilized, it’s utilized to stress– and encourage analysis of– an expression.
The involuntary action to a dash must be curiosity– as to the function of this dash. A dash is not so quickly utilized and is therefore, so hardly ever seen. Therefore when a dash is utilized in composing– be it at the end of a line or in the midst of a sentence– “so attention needs to be paid”1!
Bibliography: Arthur Miller (1949) Death of a Salesman Penguin Books USA Inc. 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York City 10014, USA 1 Page 56 said by Linda. Jolene Kui September 6, 2002