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Linda puts the hose back because she wants Willy to take the hose off himself. To confront him with the hose would be to insult him and his sense of pride. Willy is a man who is concerned with appearances. Suicide is a sign of weakness, and he wouldn't bear the thought of Linda confronting him. She knows that he has had thoughts of suicide and that his car accidents weren't accidents. However, her idea is to help maintain the positive fantasy of success so that he will give up on the idea of killing himself. That's why the mention of Bill Oliver attracts Willy's interest. Biff has been unable to "find himself," and a new business idea with Oliver's backing would mean Biff could finally establish himself. What Willy doesn't know and Biff forgets is that Biff stole his way out of that job and it becomes one more false hope for Willy to cling to.
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