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In the book Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Linda is introduced as a housewife of the mentally unstable Willy. As the story progresses, her character is molded as a passive and emotional wife who would do anything and everything for her husband. She would do all the house chores, keep track of the household expenses and try to keep the family together. These characteristics are similar to the characteristics of an Asian wife as it has been stereotyped that Asian wives are family oriented and have great respect for their husbands.
Majority of the Asian wives are housewives as observed then and now. They are in charge of the household chores like cooking and cleaning. It is not natural for a wife to argue or talk-back to their husbands. Even at the very beginning of the play we can see the traits of an Asian housewife in Linda. When her husband comes home she greets her husband with the most loving hospitality she can and gives what ever her husband wishes. During their conversation we can see that Linda is always at home taking care of things while patiently waiting for her husband. She is in charge of her their kid's welfare and knows everything that has been happening at home.
Linda tries her best to maintain the bond of her family by first, doing her duty as a housewife. She would cook delicious meals that are preferred by her husband, tidy up the house for the comfort of the family and keep everything found in the home in a perfect condition. This is evident when she had an instinct to clean the flowers she knocked off. It shows how she is always used to cleaning the mess around the house.
She even helped Willy in some financial issues, like reminding him how much was spent and how much is needed to be paid. This is also a characteristic of Asian women. Particularly in China and India, the women are always in charge of the household expenses. Just like how Linda keeps track of her household expenses and loans. Another prominent characteristic of an Asian wife is her relationship with her husband. An Asian wife has this unwavering love and loyalty to her husband. Even during the most troubling times, like financial crisis or health concerns she would always be by her husband's side. Sometimes the loyalty of the wife to her husband goes beyond her love for kids. The wife would rather stay in her husband's side then go live with her grown-up sons or daughters. These Asian characteristics were amplified by Linda.
Linda loves Willy. She would hide the flaws of her husband and regard him as the best person in the world. It is known as a Asian characteristic that wives would look-up to their husband with such high regards. witness in act one Linda says " Willy, darling, you're the handsomest man in the world - " As we can see in the conversation in act one when Linda said that, Linda would always talk about the good side of her husband even if it means telling fantasy things than the reality. That includes saying that he is the most handsome man in the world. It shows Linda's high regard to her husband.
Another characteristic about her is her passiveness in arguing against her husband. She would listen to what her husband has to say. She would not complain even if her husband is being unfair. This is another characteristic of an Asian wife, she would allow her husband to snatch away her right to speak and not get angry at him. Instead she would respect her husband's wishes. As seen in act one pages 64 - 65, Willy was yelling to Linda to stop interrupting the conversation and would not allow her to voice out her thoughts. Linda just keeps quiet and did not hold grudges against his wish. This characteristic is also seen in most Asian countries like China, Japan and Pakistan. Especially in china, the wife would never question her husband's judgement. She would even walk behind her husband and keep her head down.
Linda would always stay by her husband side through the hardships of life. This is another characteristic of an Asian wife. Because the Asian wife has allowed her husband to be the provider of her needs. She cannot support her own self. Therefore, she would always stay by her husband's side knowing that as long as he is there, there is hope. In return she will provide the husband with her unconditional love and support. Another view most prominent is for the reason that her husband is providing her everything she needs in life. So even after Linda found out that her husband has a case of mental illness, she is still there encouraging him that everything is alright. She would also try to do everything that will please her husband.
It has been noticed that Linda has seen and recognized what ever has been happening but she doesn't question her husband about it. She noticed that Willy was hiding a rubber hose which seemed like the right length for committing suicide but Linda just kept quiet. Very often, Linda talked sternly to her sons but seemed to be very patient and sympathetic with her husband. Whenever her sons would criticize Willy, she would say that "he's only a lonely little boat looking for a harbor." It seemed like she had excuses for everything. According to Willy, being great meant that you are liked by other people. He wanted to be great. Linda didn't say anything against his beliefs either.
Linda believed that if her son Biff would finally be stable with his job and life, Willy wouldn't be that worried and troubled. She wanted her sons to fulfill the dreams of their father. Linda also thought that freedom means being debt free. That is probably why she always reminded Willy to pay off their debts. Linda never let anyone realize that she had her own emotional problems and decided to keep her feelings to herself. In the end, Linda ends up becoming lonely.