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In Act 2, scene 2 of Death of a Salesman Willy had just finished a fruitless conversation with Howard when he suddenly waxed nostalgic and another flashback from his past began to take place. In this one, his brother Ben had returned from a successful money-making venture and he invited Willy to Alaska to manage a tract of timberland.
While this is, indeed, a money-making opportunity, Linda cuts into the conversation and tells Ben that Willy does not need any new venture. She basically states the following:
1. That Willy is doing well—she reminds Willy that he said that Howard Wagner Senior told him that he would be a part of the firm.
2. To remember that Willy is loved and well-liked right there where they are just like Willy's role model, Dave Singleman, who was very successful as a salesman and died (alone but also) very rich.
Why must everybody conquer the world. You are well-liked and the boys love you and someday...why, old man Wagner told him just the other day that if he keeps it up he could be a part of the firm, didn't he?
This statement by Linda begs the question of whether she is as delusional as Willy, or if it is that her fears for Willy are so deep that she would much rather he keep doing what he is doing and not embark on a high-scale adventure. Linda could also just be old-fashioned and does not believe in taking risks. One thing is for sure, and it is that Willy has basically brainwashed every member of his family into his belief that being well-liked is the secret to success.
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