This article features the writing of five high school seniors as they examine an unrecognized inspiration for Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. The young scholars argue that Katerina Ivanovna in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment may have provided a literary model for the aging American salesman. The students cite biographical information to establish Miller’s reading of Crime and Punishment, and they analyze both texts to demonstrate that Katerina’s delusions of grandeur, her clinging to the past, her manipulation of her children, her jealousy and desperation may have burned a character type into Miller’s young mind.

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