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Course Hero, "Glengarry Glen Ross Study Guide," August 11, 2017, accessed December 12, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Glengarry-Glen-Ross/.

Glengarry Glen Ross | Act 1, Scene 3 | Summary

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Summary

Richard Roma and James Lingk are seated in adjoining booths at the Chinese restaurant. Roma is philosophizing about life while a perplexed Lingk listens, barely able to respond to Roma's rhetorical questions. Roma delivers a monologue that starts off with "middle-class morality," veers to orgasms, then ends with ruminations about the importance of making decisions today that lead to a better future. "Stocks, bonds, objects of art, real estate" are all opportunities that mean whatever a person wants them to mean—security, comfort, or money, for example. When Roma finally winds down, he introduces himself to Lingk and shows him a map of Glengarry Highlands in Florida.

Analysis

There's a reason Richard Roma is the top salesman in Mitch and Murray's satellite office: he's good. He's so good, in fact, that he goes into the Chinese restaurant to grab a bite to eat and leaves with a hot lead that turns into a closed deal just hours later. He didn't know James Lingk before they met in the restaurant, nor did he have Lingk's name as one of the office leads. He simply saw a middle-aged man dining alone and struck up a conversation.

Roma doesn't rely on banal small talk to pique Lingk's interest. His goal is to sell Lingk a plot of virtually worthless land for way too much money, and he does so by immediately appealing to an insecurity that plagues many. "When you die you're going to regret the things you don't do," he says. This prompts Lingk to consider his present and how it will impact his future. Roma builds upon that by offering a laundry list of calamities—a stock market crash, the death of a loved one, the loss of financial stability—meant to incite even more anxiety about Lingk's future. Roma then pivots, verbally building a picture of confident and powerful masculinity as he describes the feelings of accomplishment associated with being able to adequately handle a personal disaster. He emphasizes the best part of preparing for the future is not the financial reserve necessary for emergencies, but "the strength ... of acting each day without fear." With all this in mind, it's nearly impossible for Lingk to say no when Roma casually presents him with a map of Glengarry Highlands. In a matter of moments Roma sized up his mark, amplified his insecurities, then guided him to the tools that will supposedly prevent calamity. It's a perfect sales pitch, and Lingk is so mesmerized by Roma's words and confidence that it doesn't even occur to him he's being pitched at all.

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