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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.64, No.4, 651 ~ 673, 2018
Aspects of the Tragedy of a Modern Individual in Death of a Salesman: Focused on Bourdieu’s Capital Classification and Adorno’s Reification
정윤길 Youn-gil Jeong
Death of a Salesman is centered on Willy Loman trying to achieve the American dream and taking his family along for the ride. This paper explores the meaning of his suicide in the work through the Adorno’s theory on the individual’s reification and commodity by an exchange value in the capitalism and argues that Bourdieu’s capital classification shows the cause of his tragic decision. Reification refers to “the structural process whereby the commodity form permeates life in capitalist society.” and Adorno called the reification of consciousness an epiphenomenon. The social-psychological level in Adorno’s diagnosis serves to demonstrate the effectiveness and pervasiveness of late capitalist exploitation. According to Bourdieu, cultural capital can exist three forms: in the embodied state, in the objectifed state and in the instituionalized state. He states embodied capital is argued to be the most significant influence; however unlike other forms of capital (social, economic, etc.) obtaining embodied capital is largely out of the individuals’ control as it is developed from birth. In conclusion, I suggest Death of a Salesman can be interpreted as a text criticizing the internalization of the subject, which is the result of the self-destructive mechanism of the subject in the logic of modern subject formation.
Key Words
『세일즈맨의 죽음』, 부르디외, 자본 구분, 물화, 아도르노, Death of a Salesman, Bourdieui, Capital Classification, Reification, Adorno
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