Reaction Paper Assignment
ENG 250 – American Literature
Graded out of 60
Review the details for this paper assignment. Once you have completed the paper and saved as a Word
document, you must submit the paper to your instructor via Turnitin (see ‘Death of a Salesman’
Reaction Paper – Submission in the Assignments for Week 10.)
After reading Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman (pp. 1208-1279), write a 3-4 page paper in
which you react or respond to the play. In other words, don’t just summarize the text; offer some kind
of perspective or opinion about it. This perspective or opinion can take on a variety of forms, as
exemplified by the following three prompts (you may choose one of the following three prompts, if you
like, or you may develop your own central, controlling idea):
1. In what ways is this story timeless, and in what ways does it relate specifically to the time in which it
was written? For this prompt, be certain to research the historical, social, and cultural time period in
which the play was written, and in addition, consider how the play relates to the human experience
more generally. See Chapter 31 (pages 1565-1567) of Literature by DiYanni for more information.
2. Examine three of the play’s main characters. How are they different, how are they alike, and how does
each relate to the play’s overarching themes? For more information, see Chapter 24 (pp. 922-925) of
Literature by DiYanni.
3. What is typically “American” about Miller’s play? What cultural attitudes and values displayed by the
characters make it “feel” American? How does the theme relate to the American experience of the
American Dream? See Chapter 31 (pages 1565-1567) of Literature by DiYanni for more information.
4. What is the overarching theme of the play, and how does Miller express that theme using the elements
of drama (characterization, setting, staging, imagery, etc.)? For more information, see Chapter 24 of
Literature by DiYanni.
For more information on reading and writing about drama, see Chapters 21-25 of Literature by DiYanni.
Write a structured, organized essay with a clear thesis statement; paragraphs with unity,
development, and coherence; an engaging introduction; and an effective conclusion that reiterates
your main points. In other words, write a strong, detailed essay about the play. Revise and edit your
paper thoroughly before turning it in.
Remember, also, to use quotes and otherwise reference the play, and be sure to cite any outside
sources that you reference with both in-text citations and reference page citations. Failure to cite
properly is considered plagiarism, a serious academic offense with severe penalties (as discussed in the
Hondros Catalog). Be sure to follow standard APA formatting, and remember the 3-4 page length
The rubric below details the breakdown of points for this assignment.
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