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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.
BEN: At that age I had a very faulty view of geography, William. I discovered after a few days that I was heading due south, so instead of Alaska I ended up in Africa.
WILLY: The Gold Coast!
BEN: Principally diamond mines.
LINDA: Diamond mines!
BEN: Yes, my dear. But I’ve only a few minutes—
WILLY: No! Boys! Boys! [Young Biff and Happy appear] Listen to this. This is your Uncle Ben, a great man! Tell my boys, Ben! (Act 1)
Willy and Linda's fascination with far off lands is closely linked with their desire for escape and financial security. To Willy especially, Ben's exploits represent a lifestyle that is totally free yet totally successful.
LINDA [laughing]: That’d be wonderful. But not enough sun gets back there. Nothing’ll grow anymore.
WILLY: You wait, kid, before its all over we’re gonna get a little place out in the country, and I’ll raise some vegetables, a couple of chickens.
LINDA: You’ll do it yet, dear.
[Willy walks out of his jacket. Linda follows him.]
WILLY: And they’ll get married, and come for a weekend. I’d build a little guest house. ‘Cause I got so many fine tools, all I’d need would be a little lumber and some peace of mind. (Act 2)
Willy and Linda perceive escape from their urban neighborhood as freedom. The entire play seems to be infused with a longing for a simpler lifestyle. What do you think? Is the lifestyle of a farmer in the country more free that the life of a salesman in the city?