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Preceding the Play, David Mamet includes the phrase "Always Be Closing," and he titles it a "Practical Sales Maxim." In this essay, I will discuss how this philosophy not only applied to the sales attempts of the characters, but how it encompassed their entire approach to life.
In the first dialogue of the play, Shelly Levene is speaking to John Williamson. He tells John, "All I am saying, that your wasting leads…All that I'm saying, things get set, I know they do, you get a mindset…A guy gets a reputation…All I'm saying, put a closer on the job…wait a second, put a proven man on the job." Shelly is talking about the fact that the good leads always go to the closers. Shelly does not think this is a fair practice. He believes that everyone could be a closer if only they could get the good leads. In the end of this dialogue he misstates himself and says, "put a closer on the job." This statement, which he quickly corrects, shows that Shelly is trying to make his past achievements relevant to the present. He used to be a closer but he is not anymore. For Shelly Levene, the phrase, "Always be closing", is a reminder of what he used to be. He was on top "eight months out of twelve, for three years in a row." He was immersed in his work, and he was the best. Then his streak ended and he fell from his throne. His driving force now is the idea that he can regain his place at the top. If only he could get the good leads, which ironically he cannot, because he isn't a closer. Although it was never stated as such, I got the idea that there was a problem with his daughter. He kept referring to her, but nothing was ever established as to the role she played in his life. I believe Shelly Levene was willing to sacrifice whatever relationship he had with his daughter in order to continue his quest to be great again.
Richard Roma is in the place that Shelly Levene used to occupy. He is on top because he closes the deal. He is, now, involved in a sales promotion to win a Cadillac. He not only will win the Cadillac, he will also win the coveted Glengarry leads.
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"Always Be Closing." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Jan 2020
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