On pages 55-59 of "Death of a Salesman" Linda says, "Biff you'll save his life." Discuss the significance of Linda's statement.

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timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Linda's remark to Biff takes place when they are planning the "dinner date" with Willie.  Linda is desparate ... she knows that Willie has the hose near the heater --- that he has contemplated suicide.  She also knows that Biff and Willie used to be very close; although the audience knows, she has no idea why they are no longer as they were, but she hopes that their relationship can be reestablished.  With his life as a salesman over, he need something to cling to, something to restore his sense of dignity, something to give meaning to his life.  Linda says it well:  "Because he's only a little boat looking for a harbor."  

Sadly the dinner is a disaster.  Biff toys with telling his Dad about the day's visit with Oliver; Happy is busy trying to set up dates for them with a girl he met when he first entered the restaurant.  At various times during the scene the episode in Boston, where Biff first discovered that his Dad was human (this often reminds me of "Young Goodman Brown), flash through Willie's mind.

Biff runs out of the restaurant after a confrontation with Happy.  As he and the girls run after him, Happy makes one of the most callous and painful remarks you'll read anywhere.  When the girls sugest that he tell his father where he's going, Happy says,  "No, that's not my father. He's just a guy."