文学地理学视域下《推销员之死》中景观表征的悲剧内涵

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论文字数:49558 论文编号:sb2021100516540938582 日期:2021-10-06 来源:硕博论文网
本文是一篇英语论文,笔者认为阿瑟·米勒(Arthur Miller)创作《推销员之死》(The Death of a Sales)的时候,正是美国梦扩展的时期。不仅资本主义和工业得到了戏剧性的发展,而且景观也得到了无限的扩展。从那时起,人们像蚂蚁一样崇拜风景,依附于等级和肮脏的东西,这导致了风景的永久存在,特别是在像美国这样的资本主义国家,这一领域已经进入了风景社会的阶段。

Chapter One Literature Review

1.1 Research on Death of a Salesman
Since  Death  of  a  Salesman  had  come  into  being  in  1949,  it  has  long  been enjoying  popularity  in  the  theater  world,  as  Brenda  Murphy  observes,  ―since  its premiere,  there  has  never  been  a  time  when  Death  of  a  Salesman  was  not  being performed somewhere in the world‖ (Miller: Death of a Salesman 70). Not only has the play ever been running for at least  740 performances in theaters and  a collection of revival on Broadway, but, so far, the reception of it throughout the literary circles in  both  China  and  the  western  countries  has  undergone  a  long-time  prosperity, especially since the 1980s. Here, I‘d like to go into the literary review abroad and at home of Death of a Salesman in a general way.
1.1.1 Research Abroad
Theme  research:  In  general,  a  large  number  of  foreign  critics  give  their  first priorities  to  the  topic  research  when  delving  into  the  text  of  Death  of  a  Salesman. Topics on family dreams, values, and relationship are on the lists. Irving Jacobson in his article ―Family Dreams in Death of a Salesman‖ presents that what Willy Loman wants  and  what  success  means  in  the  play  is  closely  connected  with  the  underlying sense  of  family,  which  can  be  examined  in  terms  of  four  variables:  transformation, prominence,  synthesis,  and  unity  (248).  In  addition,  Leah  Hadomi‘s  ―Rhythm Between  Fathers  and  Sons:  Death  of  A  Salesman‖  holds  that  there  is  a  similar doubling of brother relationships between Biff and Happy and between Willy and Ben. In both relationships, the son who left arouses envy in the son who stayed (13). And Steven R. Centola is in the belief that a detailed exploring on Willy‘s values can be of great  thematic  significance  (26)  in  his  article  ―Family  Values  in  Death  of  a Salesman”.
文学地理学视域下《推销员之死》中景观表征的悲剧内涵
文学地理学视域下《推销员之死》中景观表征的悲剧内涵
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1.2 Relevant Theories on Literary Geography
The present thesis ―On the Tragic Connotations by Landscapes Representation in Death  of  a  Salesman  from  the  Perspective  of  Literary  Geography‖,  centering  on Arthur Miller‘s Death of a Salesman, is going into the tragic connotations represented by landscapes in the play through literary geography theory, in an attempt to interpret Millers‘ pondering over the modern landscapes.
At the very beginning around the early 1930s, literary geography either assesses the  influence  of  specific  environment  on  writer‘s  thoughts  and  writings,  or  examine the  writer‘s  perception  of  the  landscape  or  region  in  which  he/she  ever  lived  and wrote,  coupled  with  the  reconstruction  of  the  regional  landscapes  of  a  writer  from his/her writings. Till the Second World War, scholars and critics of literary geography interpret literary  works  with a cultural orientation, especially  focusing on the social, political  and  historical  geography.  Since  the  beginning  of  the  new  century,  literary geography criticism has been widely applied for literature studies, but still focuses on the topics of the geographical realities  either in specific writers or in their works, or on  the  relationship  between  the  specific  geographical  space  in  which  a  writer  ever lived  and  the  one  that  is  reflected  in  the  writer‘s  literary  works  in  particular  (Zou Jianjun & Zhou Yafen 38). Most prominently, however, is that all among the literary geography  criticism  mutually  regard  landscapes  as  the  best  representation  of  both subjects‘  perception  and  their  experiences  (Ren  Bing  31).  ―Landscape‖  means  ―an area shaped by the significant connection between nature and culture‖ (R.J. Johnston 367-368),  or  may  refer  to  ―a  natural  scene  through  the  medium  of  culture,  a representation as well as a presented space; a signifier as well as the signified; a frame as  well  as  content;  a  real  place  as  well  as  a  simulative  room;  a  package  as  well  as packed goods‖ (W. J. T. Mitchell 5). Literary geography critics examine both natural landscapes and cultural landscapes in literary works. Among the well-known literary geography  critics  are  Guy  Debord,  Mike  Crang,  Tuan  Yi-fu,  W.  J.  T.  Mitchell, Douglas Kellner, and so on. 
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Chapter Two Tragic Connotations Represented by the Angular-shaped Apartment

2.1 Unreal Living State of Loman Willy
In  Space  and  Place:  The  Perspective  of  Experience,  Tuan  Yi-fu  undertakes  the research  on  the  critical  role  that  architectural  landscapes  play  in  modern  life,  and declares that modern built environmental landscape is all the time articulating social order and maintaining a teaching function: 
Its  signs  and  posters  inform  and  expostulate…  exert  a  direct  impact  on the senses and feeling. The body responds, as it has always done, to such basic  features  of  design  as  enclosure  and  exposure,  verticality  and horizontality,  mass,  volume,  interior  spaciousness,  and  light  (Space  and Place 116). 
In line with this view, different architectural styles, including the vertical shapes and the  horizontal  ones,  as  Tuan  asserts,  can  define  and  then  reflect  people‘s  different beliefs  and  world  views.  Generally  speaking,  the  vertical  architecture,  symbolic  of transcendence, internality, detachment and constant efforts to go upward (Tuan Yi-fu, Topophilia  28),  is  firstly  capable  of  arousing  people‘s  consciousness  of  desperate struggle,  the  angular-shaped  architecture  in  particular,  one  of  the  sort  of  vertical architecture (169), which masks the harsh economic and political realities with a thick layer of bubbles (Tuan Yi-fu, Escapism 6). As a result, the distance between human nature  and  the  real  environment  becomes  larger  and  larger,  giving  rise  to  a  sort  of unreal living state of human beings (in which people cannot see the distance between their survival condition and the social reality). 
Thus, it can be presumably concluded that Miller‘s focus on the angular-shaped apartment reflects the deterrent influence that the angular-shaped apartment exerts on the  protagonists‘  living  state,  when  Miller  takes  Willy  Loman  as  a  representative. Surrounded  by  such  angular-shaped  apartments,  Willy  is  indeed  prone  to  have  an unreal  living  state,  after  all,  the  modern  landscape  is  a  sort  of  sector  where  all attention  and  all  consciousness,  converges,  the  locus  of  illusion  and  false consciousness, not a decorative element added to the real world but the very heart of society‘s  real  unreality  (Guy  Debord  12-13).  
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2.2 The Materialized Social Relationship
The  angular-shaped  architecture,  symbolic  of  transcendence,  internality, detachment and constant efforts to go upward (Topophilia 28), as argued before, has been  capable  of  arousing  Willy,  along  with  the  then  American  communities‘ consciousness  of  desperate  striving.  However,  such  a  desperate  striving  for  material consumption regardless  of the reality may  give rise to deterrent consequences. Tuan Yi-fu further points  out  that when humans do their utmost to achieve a  goal, it may turn  out  that  ―the  goal  attained  is  not  the  result  of  intentional  action  but  rather  of larger  forces  of  which  there  is  no  prior  knowledge…the  one  attained,  for  all  its temporary  or  local  advantages,  has  long-range,  bad  consequences  that  cannot  be predicted‖ (―A View of Geography‖ 104). One of the bad consequences is embodied in  the  materialized  social  relationship,  insofar  as  modern  architecture  is  extremely dazzling,  focusing  only  on  the  material  appearance  and  ignoring  the  substantive content  such  as  human  nature  and  human  relations.  In  this  regard,  Miller  puts  the angular-shaped apartment in the play under the spotlight is also to display the tragic connotations  that  the  apartment  landscape  represents  in  terms  of  the  materialized social  relationship,  given  that  landscapes  are  never  a  collection  of  visual  images, rather,  they  ―are  a  complex  of  relationships  between  people  that  is  mediated  by images‖, which are ―far better viewed as a weltanschauung that has been actualized, translated into the material realm— a world view transformed into an objective force‖ (Guy Debord 12-13).
In  the  play,  the  materialized  social  relationship  manifests  itself  in  the materialized  employment  relationship  between  Willy  and  Howard  in  particular  and the materialized peer relationship between Biff and Bernard for instance. 
文学地理学视域下《推销员之死》中景观表征的悲剧内涵
文学地理学视域下《推销员之死》中景观表征的悲剧内涵

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Chapter Three Tragic Connotations of the One-dimensional Enclosed House ........... 40
3.1 Distorted Personality and Perception of the Lomans ..................................... 41
3.1.1 Twisting of the Lomans‘ Personality ................................... 42
3.1.2 Deprivation of the Lomans‘ Place-sense ................................ 46
Chapter Four Tragic Connotations of the Barren Backyard Garden ........................... 60
4.1 Absolute Worship of Commerce and Building Industry ............................... 61
4.1.1 Immersion in Business World ................................... 62
4.1.2 Addiction to House Construction................................ 65

Chapter Four Tragic Connotations of the Barren Backyard Garden

4.1 Absolute Worship of Commerce and Building Industry
Presumably,  the  barren  backyard  garden  represents  the  characters‘  absolute worship  of  commerce  and  building  industry,  in  the  light  of  the  fact  that  Death  of  a Salesman  is  written  after  the  Second  World  War,  a  period  when  American‘s industrialization  and  urbanization  has  got  great  development  and  there  is  a  dramatic change  in  American  career  choices:  Between  1940  and  1950,  the  young  are  more interested  in  industry  and  commerce  when  choosing  a  career,  inasmuch  as,  to  some degree,  the  views  of  natural  aesthetics  represented  by  ‗garden‘  and  the  traditional values based on family and interpersonal relationship have been veritably replaced by the  ―standardized‖  industrial  civilization  that  modernity  calls  on  (Shi  Qingjing 97-100).  Under  the  stimulation  and  influence  of  the  angular-shaped  apartment landscape  and  the  one-dimensional  enclosed  house  landscape,  to  integrate  into  the so-called ‗standardized‘ civilization, the Lomans, together with other characters in the play, as the very representatives of the then Americans, not only dedicate themselves to  business  world  but  also  crave  for  man-made  landscapes  construction  and  give privilege  to  those  ‗material  goods‘  especially  in  the  process  of  houses  interior landscape construction. 
To put in a nutshell, in the play, the absolute worship of commercial and building industry is mainly manifested as the immersion in business world and the addiction to house construction. 
In the first half of the 20th century, the industrialization and urbanization of the United  States  have  made  remarkable  progress,  coupled  with  the  economic development  which  has  directly  determined  people‘s  career  preference;  namely, people get enthralled with and thus immersed in commercial business. In the play, the hero Willy himself, his father, brother Ben, boss old Wagner and his friend Charley, the  very  representatives  of  the  older  generation,  are  all  engaged  in  business  or economic activities, while the younger generation like Happy, Howard and Oliver, are also fascinated by commercial business. 
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Conclusion


The  time  when  Arthur  Miller  creates  Death  of  a  Salesman  is  the  period  of  the expansion of American dream. Not only has capitalism and industry  gotten dramatic development, but the landscapes have infinitely expanded. Thenceforth, people adore landscapes like ants attaching themselves to what is rank and foul, giving rise to the permanent  presence  of  landscapes  especially  in  those  capitalist  countries  like  the United Sates, a realm having entered the stage of landscape society. Landscape in the social  hierarchy  is  usually  in  a  position  of  the  social  consciousness  form  which  is capable of  yielding ideology,  having obvious ideological function. On the one hand, the real existence of the landscape proves and upholds the legitimacy of the capitalist system;  on  the  other  hand,  people  in  the  capitalist  society  are  also  consciously  or unconsciously influenced and thus controlled by the landscape, as is shared by both of the western Literary Geography theoreticians and Chinese critics. 
Nevertheless,  American  landscape  society  has  always  regarded  capitalism  and materialism  as  the  standard  in  its  development  process.  Landscape  construction clearly  proclaims  social  norms,  and  even  plays  a  sort  of  didactic  role  with  images representation  of  message  and  exhortation.  Especially,  the  special  architecture continues  to  exert  a  great  influence  on  people‘s  feelings  and  perception,  the  basic features of which, such as ―enclosure and exposure, verticality and horizontality, mass, volume, interior spaciousness, and light‖ (Tuan Yi-fu, Space and Place 116), etc., will, as always, interact with human‘s consciousness.
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