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In Act Two of Death of a Salesman , why does Willy keep planting seeds where they've...

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shethatgirrl | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted August 29, 2013 at 4:03 PM via web

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In Act Two of Death of a Salesman , why does Willy keep planting seeds where they've never grown before?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 29, 2013 at 6:21 PM (Answer #1)

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As Willy tries to plant those seeds, he is quoted as saying:

Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground

The seeds are a symbol of Willy Loman's failed efforts to achieve the tenets that he lived by, and which he considered essential to achieve his own American Dream.

Not only had Willy failed at being well-liked, rich, or even a relatively alright salesman, he also may have failed as a father. The reason for it is because he became more and more aware that his inefficiency and lack of reality has passed onto his kids. Happy is, like his name implies, a "happy-go-lucky" kind of guy who lacks character and foundation. Biff, similarly lacks an aim in life and has just discovered the joke that his life has been; a mere repetition of Willy Loman's failed dreams.

Willy is now in his 60's, and has come full circle with his life, realizing that it has amounted to nothing. Hence, his metaphorical action of planting seeds represents his last minute frenzy to, somehow, try and leave something behind. 

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