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All my sons

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homo sapiens

on 3 April 2014

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Transcript of All my sons

All my sons
War broke out and Larry, Chris and George were drafted
Joe and Steve owned a factory producing plane parts for the military
One day, a shipping with broke parts came in
Keller advised Steve to cover the cracks and give them to the army
The flawed parts caused 21 planes to crash
Larry missing. What happened?
Steve got arrested and Keller stayed inoffended
Kate wants Joe and Chris to be careful with George
George arrives furiously, accusing Joe of being responsible for the delivery of the plane parts
Joe calms him down, even offers him to help him with a job
Wants to take Ann with him but she refuses
Kate packed Ann's bag and tells her to leave with George
Chris goes bananas, telling his mother finally that they will marry
Kate reveals that Joe has been sick that day where the flawed parts arrived
You cannot prove a phone call
Chris now knew that his father was guilty
Joe tries to explain himself, but it doesn't help
Chris drives away and Ann locks herself up in her room
Main Themes
family against community
Joe: p.105: "Chris ... Chris, I did it for you, it was a chance and i took it for you."
Chris: p.106: "What the hell are you? You're not even an animal, no animal kills his own..."
Chris: p.123: " ...you can know there's a universe of people out there and you're responsable to it..."
Main Themes
How do we deal with guilt?
Joe: p.49: "That man was a fool, but don't make a murderer out of him."
Joe: p. 96: "I'm sad to see he hasn't changed. As long as I know him,[...] the man never learned how to take the blame."
Chris: p.54: "..what you have is loot (Kriegsbeute) [...] And i guess that included you."

Key Passage
"Keller: I don't know what you mean! You wanted money, so i made money. What must I be forgiven? You wanted money didn't you?
Mother: I didn't want it that way.
Keller: I didn't want it that way, either! What difference is it what you want? I spoiled the both of you. I should've put him out when he was ten like I was put out, and make him earn his keep. Then he'd know how a buck is made in this world. Forgiven! I could live on a quarter a day myself, but I got a family, so I ...
Mother: Joe, Joe ... it don't excuse it that you did it for the family.
Keller: It's got to excuse it!
Mother: There's something bigger than the family to him.
Keller: Nothin' is bigger!
Mother: There is to him
Keller: There's nothin' he could do that I wouldn't forgive. Because he's my son. Because I'm his father and he's my son.
Mother: Joe, I tell you ...
Keller: Nothin's bigger than that. And you're goin' to tell him, you understand? I'm his father and he's my son, and if there's something bigger than that I'll put a bullet in my head!" (p. 112, Act III)
Beginning of Act III
Dialogue between Kate and Joe
Joe: "there's nothin' bigger than that" --> only cares for family; doesn't consider
himself responsable for society; even if people die
Joe: "What must I be forgiven?"
--> doesn't stick by his actions; puts the guilt
on everybody and anything else but him
Joe: "It's got to excuse it!"
--> thinks he isn't guilty as long as he does it for his family's cause

Arthur Miller
Kate Keller
father of Larry and Chris
solid man nearing sixty
mind of an uneducated worker
Learns and does things out of experience
charisma of a boss
lives and works only for his son(s)
Joe Keller
Larry Keller
Chris Keller
Ann Deever
George Deever
Steve Deever
mother of Larry and Chris
in her early fifties
has an overwhelming capacity for love
caring and passionate mother
never appears in book, but still very important
Lost son (missing)
pilot in army
Kate never gives up hope
in love with Ann
portrayed as more sensible and practical than Chris
son of Kate and Joe
in his early thirties
solid built like his father
in love with Ann
works in his father's factory (will inherit it)
different moral opinions than his father
wants to marry Ann
feels guilty for marrying her
he survived war while all his comrades died
Daughter of Steve Deever
in her mid-twenties
kind and gentle
holds fast to what she knows
bad relation with her father
truly loved Larry, but let go of him
Now in love with Chris
father of George and Ann, but their relationship is very bad
former partner of Joe Keller
in prison
son of Steve Deever
in his early thirties
lives in New York
he wants to take Ann back to New York with him
take revenge for his father
What happened before...
Act I
3 years after the other actions
Chris invited Ann to make her a proposal
They don't tell anyone about their relationship
Larry's tree is blown down that night
Kate sees it as a good sign
Kate wants everybody to believe that Larry is still alive (Ann doesn't either)
Chris starts an argument
wants Kate to get over Larry
George calls and wants to come over
visited his father for the first time
Joe fears that Ann came to find out anything against him and to re-open the case
Act II
Kate and Joe have a talk
Kate tells Joe that he should give in
He can't understand her--> he made everything only for his family
For Chris, there is something bigger than family; but not for Joe
Ann enters suggesting a deal
She won't do anything in Joe's case, but Kate has to admit that Larry is dead
-->Wants to go on with her life
Kate refuses
Ann hands her a letter from Larry
he commited suicide
Joe is guilty of Larry's death
He gives in and promises to take the consequences
Joe goes inside; a gunshot is heard
Chris goes to check, Kate says he shouldn't feel guilty about it
Extract I
Extract II
"My dear Ann: It is impossible to put down the things i feel. But I've got to tell you something. Yesterday they flew in a load of papers from the States and I read about Dad and your father being convicted. I can't express myself I can't tell you how I feel - I can't bear to live any more. Last night i circled the base for twenty minutes before I could bring myself in. How could he have done that? Every day three or four men never come back and he sits back there doing business. ... I don't know how to tell you what I feel ... I can't face anybody ... I'm going out on a mission in a few minutes. They'll probably report me missing. If they do, I want you to know that you mustn't wait for me. I tell you, Ann, if I had him here now I could kill him -" (p.121/122)

Can you understand why he wanted to kill himself? - What would you have done in his place?
Do you think there are people who knowingly put profit over another person's life in our time? (What would you have done?)
Do you think that Steve can be seen an example of blind obedience in this case?
"Mother: ... Stop being a philosopher, and look after yourself. Like Joe was just saying - you move back here, he'll help you get set, and I'll find you a girl and put a smile on your face.
George: Joe? Joe wants me here?
Ann: (
). He asked me to tell you, and I think it's a good idea.
Mother: Certainly. Why must you make believe you hate us? Is that another principle? - that you have to hate us? You don't hate us, George, I know you, you can't fool me, I diapered you." (p.93)

Why would Joe want George to move to their town?
Do you think you could ever forgive someone who ruined your family?
Do you believe it's more important to have principles or to look after yourself and be egoistic sometimes?

Inner monologue
Author's point of view
Full transcript