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The Role of Chris in the General Structuralism of 'All My Sons' by Arthur Miller

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matt smith

on 11 November 2012

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Transcript of The Role of Chris in the General Structuralism of 'All My Sons' by Arthur Miller

Chris, son of Joe, remains the focal emotional centre of the Keller family throughout 'All My Sons'. As Larry is presumed still alive but missing or even dead, he is the only child left. His own innocence is still intact, and he is a replication of his own father, considered the 'everyman.' Yet, their own morality is entirely in contrast, their views are juxtaposed. Once intentions and revelations are revealed by many characters near the end of the play, the relationship between Joe and Chris changes as the truth comes to the light, and not for the welfare of the parties involved. Introduction In many ways, Chris is the most admirable character in the play. He is a former World War II soldier, and knows what it is like to face death firsthand. Wishing to be future husband of Ann Deever, their romance together blossoms. In Act 1, these particular quotations summarise this: '[He kisses her, but without their bodies touching]' and 'Give me a kiss, Ann. Give me a...[They kiss.] God I kissed you Annie, I kissed Annie. How long, how long I've been waiting to kiss you!' This culminates in an initial defining moment in the play; without the reader realising it yet; these two families are interlinked into a tragic web of deceit, yet love is found between son and daughter of both. It therefore provides a setting for a monumental fallout to be experienced later, as the futures of both families are jeopardised by the truth of Joe Keller's actions. Emotions are in opposition to one another in Acts 1 and 3 of the play. Chris' strong affection for Ann is in contrast to that of his lying father by the conclusion of the play which highlights his strong influence. During Act 2 The Role of Chris in the General Structuralism of 'All My Sons' by Arthur Miller During Act 1 By Act 2, it is apparent there is a great deal more tension between Chris and his own family which threatens to tear both the Kellers and the Deevers apart. At the beginning of Act 2, Kate says: 'That family hates us. Maybe even Annie...' to which Chris replies 'Oh now, Mother' and 'All right, stop working yourself up. Just leave everything to me.' These quotations foreshadow the conflict that is to occur towards the end of the scene, between Chris and Keller, and Kate's paranoia adds to the turmoil faced mentally by all of the family and the burden that is the truth, of which neither Keller nor any other person wishes to disclose, rather to conceal it instead. 'Dad....Dad, you killed twenty one men!' and '...Kids were hanging in the air by those heads. You knew that!' are quotations which display the heightening climatic anger felt towards Keller for not being honest with his own son, and Chris, who once idolised his father in the likeness of himself, now despises him. When Chris re-enters the play in the middle of Act 3 it is obvious that he feels guilty as he fells partly responsible for Keller not paying for his actions during the war. He says,'if I knew that night when I came home what I know now, he'd be in the district attorney's office by this time, and I'd have brought him there.' From this quotation the reader realises that Chris feels that Keller should have gone to jail for what he did and that he was prepared to force his own father to go there even though there was a possibility that he could have been acquitted in the court of law, as he indeed was before the start of the play. Therefore the reader can see that Chris is ashamed of Keller's actions and desparately does not want to be seen condoning what he did. This also shows that his moral sense of justice is greater than his allegiance to his father. The End of Act 3 By the end of the play, the truth that Chris suspected all along is revealed in his cathartic speech which leads to the suicide of Keller after he reveals the suicide of Larry, much to Kate's painful disbelief. Chris says: 'I know all about the world. I know the whole crap story...' and '..now blame the world. Do you understand that letter?' Whilst Keller still doesn't accept the course of his own actions, he displays his guilt by: '[he speaks almost inaudibly]: I think I do. Now get in the car, I'll put on my jacket.' When Keller commits suicide, the full extent of Chris' strong feelings and frustration display the pitiful image of him sobbing into his mother's arms. Their pain is shared, yet Chris feels the full force of revelations and the unbearable consequences of his father's actions. Middle of Act 3
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