The primary purpose of reading short stories and poems is to understand and relate with themes. The themes are the virtues and the values in which the stories are centred on. Their purpose is to enable us to associate with the stories and poems and to learn lessons from the authors. Stories and poems have numerous themes depending on the goal of the author. This paper will focus on themes of the Death of a Salesman and compare and contrast its themes with those of the Ars Poetica and The Zebra Storyteller. The Death of a Salesman is centred on the dominant theme of the American Dream that equates to success and being liked. Likeability is essential for salespeople. The society must be able to like them for them to get more customers. Therefore, the desire of the main in the story, Willy, is to be wanted by the society. However, he does not achieve the success that he desires. The issue dramatically affects his self-esteem and how he views himself in the community. Furthermore, he is not able to accomplish his American dream. Through the process, Willy ends up losing his identity because he is not able to accept change within himself and society. The Death of a Salesman is a montage of dreams, memories, confrontations, and arguments that describe the life of Willy.
The purpose of the Ars Poetics poem is to explain the art of poetry. The narrator mediates on poetry using the required form and techniques of a poem as needed. The poem is centred on the on the foundations of poetry and how poems should be written. The poem was first published in 1926, and its purpose was to act as a guide on how poetry should be written (Kilpatrick 1). The author realized that artists were missing the fundamentals of poetry. Therefore, the Ars Poetica was meant to remind artists about the foundations of poetry and to inspire individuals not to forget the traditions in the poetry industry.
The Zebra Storyteller is a story narrated by animals. The central theme in the story is leadership and power. Moreover, the story talks about the originality in storytelling. Currently, the culture of storytelling has been lost. The story is centred on how individuals can sit around and listen to the account from the storytellers (The Zebra Storyteller 1). Therefore, the story is based on the tradition of storytelling. The Zebra Storyteller, Ars Poetica, and Death of a Salesman are all based on traditions and the transformation through modernization. However, the works have other themes such as power, leadership, poverty, and modernization.
Modernization has adversely affected the growth of traditions. Modernization has corrupted our cultures and influenced the work of art. Chasing the American Dream has made Willy in the Death of a Salesman to lose his identity. Furthermore, it has led to frustrations, and this has dramatically affected the lives of the salesman (Stanton 156). Willy, the character feels betrayed by the by the American Dream. The role is not able to achieve his American Dream after losing his original identity trying to attain the required success. The author of the Ars Poetica further feels that artists have betrayed the originality of drafting poems. Therefore, Ars Poetica is a poetic book written to act as a guide to other artists on how poetry should be written. Ars Poetica advocates for the originality in the writing of poetry. The Zebra Storyteller is centred around animals as the original orators of their stories (Stanton 156). Initially, storytelling was all about personification and animals were able to converse and tell their stories. However, due to technological advancement, this culture has been lost. Therefore, The Zebra Storyteller is based on the importance of the originality of arts.
The three works of art are all centred on maintaining the real identity of art. Modernization has corrupted the originality in the arts industry. Willy, the main character in the Death of a Salesman losses his identity and traditions because of chasing the American Dream. Eventually, he does not attain the goals, and he further feels betrayed by the system. Therefore, he feels that has lost his traditions chasing the American Dream (Stanton 156). In Ars Poetica the writer notes that artists have forgotten how poems are written and the purpose of the art to the audience. Therefore, Ars Poetica is meant to act as a guide to artists and authors of poems on how they can draft poems and achieve to the audience. The Zebra Storyteller is further focused on originality and the traditional way of telling stories. The original narrators are animals, and the personification captures the attention of the audience.
The other major theme used in the stories is a betrayal. The Zebra Storyteller is centred on power and leadership. Holst in the story illustrates his power be orders the cats to talk and kill the zebra. Whenever there are power and leadership, betrayal is unavoidable. Holts grants the cat the authority to use its words and confidence to fool the zebra. Eventually, the cat betrays the zebra and manages to kill the animal. Therefore, betrayal is a theme in the story of The Zebra Storyteller (The Zebra Storyteller 1). In the Ars Poetica, the author claims that artists have betrayed the original of the drafting of poetry. Through modernization, poems are not drafted the same way they are supposed to. Artists do not focus on the art but simply the message. Therefore, the purpose of Ars Poetica is to remind people of the importance of adhering to the original way of writing poems. The author requests the artists to focus on the original goal of poetry and to stop betraying the originality in the drafting of poems (Kilpatrick 13). The book is expected to hinder people from betraying the original way of writing poems by proving them with a guide in which they can adhere to while artistically writing their poems. The Death of a Salesman is portrayed the life of Willy. The salesperson who feels betrayed by the American Dream. The salesperson losses his culture and identity trying to chase his American Dream but eventually he does not accomplish the success (Stanton 156). Therefore, the American Dream has utterly betrayed Willy. Due to the betrayal, Willy has lost his culture and identity but has gained nothing in the process.
The two short stories (Death of a Salesperson and The Zebra Storyteller) and the poem have numerous similar themes. The stories are primarily based on tradition and betrayal has the main themes. The main characters in the book have felt the challenges of the transforming world and modernization. Additionally, the deception has directly affected in the artistic works. The other themes in the three artistic works include power and leadership, but the main themes include betrayal and traditions.
"The Zebra Storyteller". SHORT BUT SWEET, 2018, https://checkthisout831blog.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/the-zebra-storyteller/. Accessed 11 Dec 2018.
Kilpatrick, Ross Stuart. The poetry of criticism: Horace, Epistles II and Ars Poetica. University of Alberta, 1990.
Stanton, Kay. "Women and the American Dream of Death of a Salesman." Death Of A Salesman (2007): 156.
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