And whenever spring comes to where I am, I suddenly get the feeling, my God, I’m not getting anywhere! What the hell am I doing, playing around with horses, twenty-eight dollars a week! I’m thirty-four years old, I oughta be making my future. That’s when I come running home. And now, I get here, and I don’t know what to do with myself.
Biff Loman confides in his younger brother Happy, explaining why he has come home for a visit. Biff’s explanation shows that he has absorbed at least some of his father’s values: measuring success by money and working toward a better future. Biff associates those values with home. Even after years away, Biff still thinks of this house and his family as his secure base.
All right, pal, all right. It’s all settled now. I’ve been remiss. I know that, Mom. But now I’ll stay, and I swear to you, I’ll apply myself. Kneeling in front of her, in a fever of self-reproach: It’s just—you see, Mom, I don’t fit in business. Not that I won’t try. I’ll try, and I’ll make good.
Biff is speaking to his mother, after she berated him and Happy for not helping her with their father. Biff responds as his mother intended, by promising to reform. His reaction shows that he is anxious to please his mother as well as his father. Biff is telling his mother what she wants to hear, but as revealed in his words “I don’t fit in business,” he does not really believe he can follow through on his promises.
Pop, listen! Listen to me! I’m telling you something good! Oliver talked to his partner about the Florida idea. You listening? He—he talked to his partner, and he came to me . . . I’m going to be all right, you hear? Dad, listen to me, he said it was just a question of the amount.
Biff and Happy are treating their father Willy to a fancy dinner when Willy announces he’s been fired. In an attempt to create hope and avert Willy’s anger, Biff deliberately makes up a story about his own future. The difference between Willy and Biff is that, despite the lie, Biff is not really deceiving himself. Biff rewrites his own narrative to fit the needs of the moment, a trait he learned from Willy.
[BIFF:] Miss Forsythe, you’ve just seen a prince walk by. A fine, troubled prince. A hardworking, unappreciated prince. A pal, you understand? A good companion. Always for his boys.
LETTA: That’s so sweet.
Biff is talking to one of the women who joined him and Happy at the restaurant where they are treating their father Willy to dinner. Willy has just staggered off to the washroom. Biff, in the sentimental stage of being drunk, praises his father at least partly to make himself look good. A few minutes later, Biff and Happy abandon Willy and go off with the women.
[BIFF:] You fake! You phony little fake! You fake! Overcome, he turns quickly and weeping fully goes out with his suitcase. Willy is left on the floor on his knees.
WILLY: I gave you an order! Biff, come back here or I’ll beat you! Come back here! I’ll whip you!
Biff, as a teenager, is yelling at his father Willy, after discovering him in a hotel room with The Woman. The stage directions call for Biff to storm away in tears and for Willy to be on his knees. We note, however, that although Willy’s body language is begging, his words are threatening, hinting at the domestic violence Biff has probably suffered.