Death of A Salesman: Novel Summary: Act 2, Scene 1

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This scene is one of the happiest in the entire play.  Linda is serving Willy breakfast in the kitchen as they discuss their plans for the day.  Biff and Happy have already left to talk to Oliver about their business ventures and have planned to meet Willy later that day for dinner in a fancy restaurant.  Willy is very exited about his sons' prospects as well as his own.  Today he has finally resolved to ask his boss, Howard, for a job in New York, instead of having to work on the road.  This newfound hope likewise fills Linda with happiness, now that joy is again abundant in the hearts of her family. 
In this scene, the garden metaphor is once again referenced.  To Willy, success requires fulfillment of the traditional American Dream paradigm, or in Willy's case, illusion.  Like his brother Ben who conquers the wilderness, Willy feels that he must live on the frontier, building a house and planting a garden for his family, if he wants to be successful.  He tells Linda, "Before it's all over we're gonna get a little place out in the country, and I'll raise some vegetables, a couple of chickens." Unfortunately, times have changed and his dream is no longer possible in twentieth century New England.  Willy is simply an old salesman who has lost his hold of reality, having never lived up to his own expectations.

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