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LINDA: We should’ve bought the land next door.
WILLY: The street is lined with cars. There’s not a breath of fresh air in the neighborhood. The grass don’t grow anymore, you can’t raise a carrot in the backyard. They should’ve had a law against apartment houses. Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there? When I and Biff hung the swing between them?
LINDA: Yeah, like being a million miles from the city. (Act 1)
Linda and Willy's reflections reveal their craving for escape from their urban neighborhood. They long for the days when the neighborhood was more green. Throughout the play, urbanization and commercialism are linked to ideas of confinement.
WILLY: There’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this country! The competition is maddening! Smell the stink from that apartment house! And the one on the other side… (Act 1)
Willy feels trapped and confined even in his own home. He feels stifled by the fact that there are so many people right on top of him.
BIFF [with enthusiasm]: Listen, why don’t you come out West with me?
HAPPY: You and I, heh?
BIFF: Sure, maybe we could buy a ranch. Raise cattle, use our muscles. Men built like we are should be working out in the open. (Act 1)
Happy and Biff fantasize about escape from the city and their lives in the business world. The world of manual labor is a welcome change to the rat race of city life. In the big scheme of things, though, is the life of the working class really any more free?