Lesson Plan : Death of a Salesman - Importance of Salesmen

Teacher Name:
 M. I. Friedman
 Grade 11-12
 Literature Activities

 The Salesman: An American Phenomenon
 This lesson consists of a look at the profession of the salesman. It requires the students to examine a defense of the profession, as a means of determining its importance.
 Aim: How can a defense of salesmen help us to understand the importance of the the profession? Outcomes: Students will respond to a passage which defends the honor of the selling profession. In this way they should come to an understanding of what selling means to Willy, and why his failure has brought him to a suicidal state.
 Students will read the passage, on the "The Salesman in America" handout, and will discuss the content. They will discuss the importance of the salesman, as a profession in America--with relation to the American dream. Then, they will use the information shared in our classroom discussion, to respond to the questions on the handout.
 DEATH OF A SALESMAN "The Salesman in America" handout
 Quick Write: Think about situations in which you have dealt with salespeople. Write briefly your reactions to the experience, and to the particular salesperson. Turn and Talk: Have the students share their responses with their partners, or groups.
 Independent Reading: 1. Distribute "The Salesman in America" handout. Allow the students a minute or two to read the passage. 2. Instruct them to ignore the questions, for now, and have them write briefly why they agree, or disagree with the what the writer says. Turn and Talk: Have the students discuss their response to the passage. Classroom Discussion: Have students discuss the passage, with the following questions: 1. Why does the fourteen year old boy's desire to go to a top college, and become a scientist, disappoint the writer of this passage? 2. Why does he refer to the sciences as being beneath the a person with the level of talent that the boy possesses? How can a salesman do much more for society than a scientist? 3. What are some of the important contributions to society made by the selling profession? 4. Do you think that the write overstates his case, or do you think he makes sense? Give evidence for your point of view, from your observations from your own experiences?
 1. Ask students who finish their work ahead of the time allotted to help those students who are having trouble with the questions. 2. Allow students who need it a little extra time to complete the questions.
Checking For Understanding:
 1. Have students share and discuss their responses to the first two questions. 2. Invite volunteers to share the letters they will have written for question #3.
 Homework: Finish reading Act Two. In a well-developed paragraph, explain Willy's comment to Howard, "You can't eat the orange and throw away the peel--a man is not a piece of fruit."
 Student letters will be used to demonstrate their understanding of the material, and their ability to write persuasively.

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