Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Summary of Chunk 1

Willy Loman, an elderly failing salesman whose salary has been taken away and works on straight commission, returns home from a sales trip that he could not complete. He is weary and tired of life on the road. His two grown sons, Biff and Hap have returned home to visit. Biff has lost his way in life and has returned home after 15 years of drifting. Hap, who lives in his own apartment is also home to visit.

Willy has a conversation with his wife, Linda, as he gets ready for bed. Willy cannot understand why Biff is lost, with no job and no money to his name. Willy reminisces about the past and the reader sees for the first time that Willy sometimes lapses into another era, when he talks about opening the windshield on his car. Linda suggests Willy go to the kitchen have some whipped cheese before coming to bed.

Meanwhile, the boys are having a conversation in their old bedroom. They discuss their father and the fact that he is becoming senile in his old age. They have been on a date, and through their conversation we see that Hap holds himself to low moral standards. They talk about success, their hopes, and all the while Willy is downstairs having a conservation with no one. Willy is immersed in one of his flashbacks, where he relives conversations and scenes from the past. The boys are embarrassed for him, and the scene transforms into a fall day, 15 years ago.

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