In Death of a Salesman, why does Linda Loman tell her sons, "Get out of here, both of you, and don't come back!"

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Biff and Happy return home after having abandoned Willy at the restaurant, Linda is waiting for them, angry almost beyond words at what they've done. She refuses to give up on Willy as her sons have apparently done; furthermore, she persists in her efforts to support and protect her husband. Because she knows about his suicidal thoughts and intentions, she worries about what may push him over the edge. Throughout the play, Linda is the character who consistently enables Willy by soothing his frustration and anger, accepting his "mistakes," for instance, about how much commission he's made, and attempting to find excuses for his often strange behavior. She dearly loves Willy, and if forced to make a choice between her husband and her sons, she will choose Willy.

Now that her sons have cruelly left Willy at the restaurant where they were all supposed to have had dinner--and abandoned him so that they could be with some women--Linda is disgusted with Biff and Happy. She apparently has never learned of Willy's affair with "The Woman," and she willingly accepts him with all of his flaws. That he's clearly falling apart mentally is a point she attributes to his being tired, probably because the future otherwise frightens her. Her sons are unreliable bums, as she points out, and they lack even common courtesy. If they don't love Willy, then they don't love her. She doesn't want them in her house.

Michael Otis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Walking out the door with whores in tow, Biff and Happy leave their father to founder in his delusions in the restroom of Frank's Chop House. As they return home later that evening, Happy carrying a conciliating bouquet, Linda confronts her sons over humiliating Willy. Furiously dashing the roses to the floor, Linda castigates them as nothing more than animals and tells them to "get out of here, both of you, and don't come back!" In this pivotal event Linda demonstrates her intriguing character development. Through the course of the play, Linda travels a long way from the timorous housewife, almost mindlessly echoing Willy's fantasies, to a strong, fearless woman willing to stand up to her feckless sons. When the Loman family was younger, Linda was content to support and nurture Willy, but now that he cannot lead it out of its disintegration, she assumes that authority. In essence, she masculinizes her maternal role. But even with this movement, she refuses to sabotage his dignity. Thus, even though Linda knows that he is suicidal, she refuses to confront him.   

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Death of a Salesman

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