saw the things that I love in this world. The work and the food
and the time to sit and smoke. And I looked at the pen and I thought,
what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become
what I don’t want to be . . . when all I want is out there, waiting
for me the minute I say I know who I am.
Biff’s explanation to his father during
the climax of their final confrontation in Act II helps him articulate
the revelation of his true identity, even though Willy cannot possibly
understand. Biff is confident and somewhat comfortable with the
knowledge that he is “a dime a dozen,” as this escape from his father’s
delusions allows him to follow his instincts and align his life
with his own dreams. Whereas Willy cannot comprehend any notion
of individual identity outside of the confines of the material success
and “well liked”-ness promised by the American Dream, Biff realizes
that he can be happy only outside these confines.
Though his attempt to cure Willy’s delusions fails, Biff frees himself
from Willy’s expectations for him. He sees the stupidity of stealing
the pen and renounces the commercial world, content to enjoy the
simple necessities of life.