Despite his protests otherwise, Willy knows he is a failure. He begins to slowly kill himself by inhaling gas fumes from a hose in the garage, an act that relieves his mental anguish and gives him a brief high. The gas also muddles Willy's mind, conflating past, present, and future. This shifting through time and space helps the reader/audience see how much pressure there has been on this simple man to be accepted in the only way he thinks is valuable: to make money. He wants desperately to be "well liked," and without the status of being a manager who makes more money, the dream is impossible. He dies as he has lived, a failure in the eyes of society.