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Identify what does Charley meant when he says the following to Willy:   "Who liked...

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mertberkay | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted December 25, 2012 at 6:12 PM via web

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Identify what does Charley meant when he says the following to Willy:   "Who liked J.P.Morgan? Was he impressive ? In a Turkish bath he'd look like a butcher. But with his pockets on he was very well liked."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 25, 2012 at 6:46 PM (Answer #1)

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This particular exchange between Charley and Willy reflects some of their fundamental differences between how reality is constructed and how people are valued.  For Willy, J.P. Morgan is valued above all because he was "impressive" and "well- liked."  Charley responds by suggesting that when Morgan was stripped from all of his wealth and trappings, he actually looked "normal" or nothing distinctive.  It is only with these trappings or "pockets" that he becomes "well- liked."  It is this reference point in which the "Turkish bath" line is suggested.  For Charley, external constructions of individual identity are simply that- external.  They are not "real."  Yet, for Willy, he believes that such elements do consist of reality. He believes that the more trappings of wealth, social prestige and respect that one features, the greater value their being has.  It is in this where there is a difference between both men.  Charley tends to look at the more permanent elements and lasting elements of one's identity, while Willy believes that the external is the real.  This is the context of characterization that frames the quote in the drama.

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