Death of a salesman



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DEATH OF A SALESMAN

Glossary of Cultural and Dramatic Terms, References and Expressions
ACT 1
Apron: the part of the stage in front of the curtain. (p.12)
Orchestra: an area directly in front of the stage where the musicians (if the performance required any) were seated. (p.12)
Loman: consider the implications of Willy’s surname. (p.12)
Studebaker: American make of car; it went out of production in 1966. (p.13)
Yonkers: a suburb of New York City on the Hudson River. (p.13)
Wire: telegram, an early form of rapid communication. (p.14)
Thomas Edison (1847-1931): famous American inventor (his inventions included the light bulb) and entrepreneur – a giant of American industry. He was deaf. (p.18)
B.F. Goodrich (1841-1888): American businessman whose company is involved in the manufacture of automobile tires. (p.18)
Chevrolet or Chevy: well known make of American car. (p.19)
Simonize: to polish an automobile with wax (Simonize was a brand of car wax). (p.19)
Gene Tunney: American boxer; World Heavyweight Champion from 1926-1928. (p.29)
Knickers: loose-fitting knee-length trousers gathered at the knee (from knickerbockers). (p.32)
Regents: a state examination marked externally (like ÖSS). (p.32)
Adonises: in Greek mythology, Adonis was a handsome youth loved by Aphrodite. (p.33)
What do we owe?”: the Lomans have bought items on credit and have to pay for them in monthly installments. (p.35)
Scrim: a curtain, normally opaque, but it can be seen through when lit from behind. (p.37)
Shoot: play a game of cards; Willy and Charley play a card game called ‘casino’. (p.42)
Valise: a small overnight bag or case. (p.44)
Taking a pot: collecting the pool of accumulated bets after winning a hand in a card game. (p.46)
That’s my build”: Willy accuses Charley is claiming to have won a round of play that he won; in other words, he accuses Charley of cheating. (p.46)
Front stoop: an open porch or verandah in front of the main entry to a house. (p.50)
Salary…straight commission”: Willy is no longer paid a monthly wage; he now gets paid only when he sells something, getting a percentage of the sale price. (p.57)
Ebbets Field: a professional sports stadium in Brooklyn, New York. (p.58)
Hercules: a hero from Greek mythology famous for his strength. (p.58)

ACT 2

Wire-recording machine: tape recorder, an ancient fore-runner of an iPod. (p.76)
Jack Benny: an American comedian whose radio show ran from 1932 to 1955. (p.78)
Knock a homer, Biff”: hit a home run – hitting a baseball far enough to allow the batter to run around all four bases and score. Charley is teasing Willy by pretending he does not even know what sport Biff is playing. (p.89)
Red Grange (1903-1991): probably the most famous American football player of the first half of the 20th century. (p.89)
Carte blanche: a French term meaning complete freedom of action. (p.92)
J.P. Morgan (1837-1903): famous American financier. (p.97)
You ain’t from Hackensack”: not an unsophisticated person from a rural area. (p.99)
Binoculars: possibly a reference to the woman’s eyes, but more likely a rude reference to her bust. (p.100)
On call: readily available. (p.102)
No soap: no success. (p.104)
Let’s get a load on”: Let’s get drunk. (p.105)
Flunk: fail (p.109)
Grand Central: major railway station in New York City. (p.110)


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