Birth of an Outdoorsman
In the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Biff Loman, eldest son of the poor salesman, Willy Loman, starts out with a happy-go-lucky attitude. This later changes to a very negative, distrusting attitude after witnessing his father's infidelity towards his mother, Linda. Willy is an unsucessful traveling salesman who cheats on his wife out of lonliness. He also urges Biff to follow his line of work, which causes constant conflict. Toward the end of the play, Biff has an epiphany and accepts himself for who he is; an outdoorsman. Biff transforms from an optimistic adolescent to an angry and distrusting person before he is able to achieve his own happiness.
Biff begins as a young, naive and hopeful boy with love for his father. Although Biff has not yet been accepted to the University of Virignia, he draws the emblem on his sneakers and proudly displays them: "Oh, Pop, you didn't see my sneakers!" (32) Printing the name of the school on his sneakers before being accepted is indicative to his overwhelming optimism; he would not have done that if he thought there was a chance he wouldn't be accepted. Additionally, he is particularly excited to show them to his father, which shows that he values his opinion. Before one of his football games, Biff promises his dad a touchdown: "This Saturday, Pop, this Saturday-just for you, I'm going to break through for a touchdown." (32) A touchdown is a huge and vital part to a football game and Biff wants to score one for his father. Biff does not stay an optimistic and loving boy for long.
Biff transforms via the internalized anger from catching his father cheating and becomes very negative, withdrawn and lost. Willy often asks him, "Why do you always insult me?" (62) Biff is quick to attack him, demonstrating his perception that his father is the root of all problems. He goes from trying to impress his father to putting him down. Biff jumps at any opportunity to shame him: "Since when did you get so clean?" (63) The implication of clean is something that is free from adulteration, which Willy is not because he slept with a woman other than his wife. If Biff had forgiven his father, he wouldn't be making vague spiteful statements. On top of that, Biff is stealing and overtly confused about the direction of his life. He "stole a suit in Kansas and was in jail," (131) for three months. When Biff comes to visit, Linda asks him what he wants to do with his life and Biff replies, "I don't know. I want to look around, see what's doin'." (22) Biff "[does not] know what to do with [himself,]" (22) and is