The Playgoer: Quote of the Day

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I put thirty-four years into this firm, Howard, and now I can't pay my insurance. You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away--a man is not a piece of fruit!"

-Willy Loman, Death of a Salesman

Yes, the scene where he gets laid off.

6 comments:

Mike Mariano said...

Arthur Miller? Too depressing!

We theatregoers would rather hear quotes from How To Succeed, starring that lovely Harry Potter (and soon one of the boys from Glee).

An endless, easy ride up the corporate ladder, benefiting the entire Brotherhood of Man—that's what we believe in as Americans!

Dizzy Jinias said...

I had forgotten about this line. Ugh. Miller at his worst. What a clumsy turn of phrase. No wonder Willy Loman got fired. Everyone throws the peel away once they've eaten the orange! What else would you do with it? Stuff it into your jacket pocket like a pack rat?

If Miller wanted a horticultural analogy, he should have noted how potato peels are the most nutritious part of the tuber, or perhaps pointed out that asparagus, once rooted to a spot, springs anew each year for decades. Perhaps Howard could have been told that to rip a prickly pear from its mother branch, one should be prepared to bleed. That would have added a hint of menace to Loman's indignation.

I now consider Miller to have been a lazy playwright and terrible gardener. I'm almost glad he's dead.

Anonymous said...

Dizzy, you're making the elementary mistake of confusing a character with his author. Willy is not the smartest or most articulate character and that line is typical of what he might say, especially when indignant.

Dizzy Jinias said...

Somebody had to write his lines. I stand by my critique of Miller. A pox upon his bones!

The Playgoer said...

Ok, I'll concede the line might make more literal sense if he first said "a man is not a piece of fruit" and then talked about the orange--so as to make clear a man is NOT like an orange and thus you can't throw away HIS peel, etc...

But still I find the image powerful--that of business treating a man's life AS IF it were merely the peel to be thrown away after sucking up its worth.

And hey, Dizzy, no need to get homicidal about the late Mr Miller! Chill, dude

Dizzy Jinias said...

How can someone be "homicidal" about a man who is already dead? It's like eating the peel and throwing the orange away. I'm just glad that Miller can no longer inflict this kind of damage upon us, nor upon citrus.

So I stand by my pox. A pox, I say! It's been a while since we've had a good pox.

And no, my first name ain't dude. It's Dizzy. Mr. Jinias if you're nasty.