Death of a Salesman

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Rubber Hose Symbol Analysis

Rubber Hose Symbol Icon
The rubber hose is a symbol of Willy's impending suicide. Linda finds it hidden behind the fuse box in the cellar, and the "new little nipple" she finds on the gas pipe of the water heater leads her to the conclusion that Willy had planned to inhale gas. Like Willy's other attempted method of suicide—driving off the road in the car he uses to travel to work—the rubber hose points how the conveniences such as the car and water heater that Willy works so hard to buy to afford might, under their surface, be killing him.
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Rubber Hose Symbol Timeline in Death of a Salesman

The timeline below shows where the symbol Rubber Hose appears in Death of a Salesman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Finally, Linda tells the boys that she found a rubber hose behind the fuse box in the basement, and a new nipple on the gas pipe... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...tired to talk. Biff, meanwhile, searches in the basement and is horrified to find the rubber hose behind the heater. He takes it and goes upstairs to bed. (full context)
Act 2
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...phone call from Biff. She tells him what she thinks is good news: that the rubber hose Willy attached to the gas heater is gone, implying that he took it away himself.... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...to the restroom. Biff berates Happy for not caring enough about Willy. He pulls the rubber hose that he found in the cellar from his pocket and puts it on the table,... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Biff puts the rubber hose in front of Willy, demanding that he answer to it. He tells Willy that he... (full context)