“All My Sons” by Arthur Miller opens on an ordinary Sunday morning in August at the family home of the Keller’s. Joe Keller, who is in his sixties, is a prosperous manufacturer who feels he has earned the time to enjoy the fruits of his hard work – the wealth that surrounds him and his loving family by his side.
A jovial man, he is surrounded by those who love him, his wife Kate, his son Chris, who stand to inherit the family business, and the prestige of the surrounding businesses and citizens who respect and admire him. Or so it seems. It comes out that Joe’s son, Larry, is missing and has been since World War II. Three years later, his mother still lived in denial about his death, refusing to admit he is not coming home, and the tree planted in his memory is knocked down the night before the play’s action begins.
Larry’s old girlfriend, Anne, is staying in Larry’s old room, which still contains his clothes and shoes, newly polished. Chris would like to marry Anne, but he is not convinced that her acceptance of Larry’s death is complete. When she does accept his proposal, Chris does not kiss her like his fiancée.
He is also concerned that Kate will not bless their union until she accepts that Larry has died. What comes out during the course of the single day of action is that Joe Keller knowingly sold engines to the Army that were defective, resulting in the deaths of twenty-one pilots. This scandal was previously uncovered, but Joe put it all on his innocent partner who was put in prison. The town believes that Joe is really guilty.
... the truth about Keller’s guilt. Joe insists that Chris just doesn't understand what responsibility for family means, and that Larry knew better what ... as this allowed his family to make money and allowed his son Chris to inherit the family business. Keller justifies his actions as ... the moral order of the universe, and allows his son, Chris, to live free from guilt and persecution. Arthur Miller ...
One reason that Kate is in denial over Larry’s death is that it points to Joe as the killer of her son. Joe, himself, thinks he’s innocent because Larry did not fly any of the defective planes. Anne then reveals a letter she has from Larry where Larry condemns what his father has done and blames him for the death of the pilots. Larry then says that he’s going to take a suicide mission in one of those planes. Joe, who finds out he is guilty of killing his son, along with all the other pilots, shoots himself.
The opening scene in which Keller converses with the neighbor and Jim sets Joe up to be an upstanding, affluent man. Jim looks up to him and seems to want to emulate him, making money and passing that down to his sons. He does not want his son to become a doctor because it does not make enough money (later, in Act III, he is heard saying, “Money, money, money, money,” in a wanting way).
But this shows undertones of hints of greed and denial. In the beginning of Act I, he states that he does not read the new part anymore and it is hinted before this that the only news that is there is bad. This is an allusion to the fact that he is in denial about being the one to have killed Larry. Also, when he is discussing the paper with Frank, Joe mentions perusing the want ads, looking for what people want.
He is looking for what he can sell to them, always trying to make more money. Also, it is obvious that Larry’s death will be a subject of much discussion during the course of the play since his memorial tree fell down and Joe and Frank discussed it. Also, when Frank and Jim and discussing honorable professions, Joe is amused by a man who takes a more honorable job versus a well paying job.
The closing scenes of the play are dramatic and tragic, giving in to the fatalistic tragedy that had befallen the Keller family. This reveals that Joe is admitting that he did these tragic things but does not believe he needs to be forgiven for it, saying he did it all to make money and that that is what the family wanted so what does he need to be forgiven for? One theme that is prevalent is the question of why do men to unconscionable things to provide for their families? It is clear here that Joe wanted to leave a legacy to his sons, give them a business worth passing on to.
Life and money, which support it, make the existence of people purposeful and intelligent, money becomes the self-value nowadays . But if we want to know the possibilities for spiritual growth or moral development in human beings we must answer the question what money means in our life? It can be compared with a huge piston in the engine that pushes the world. 1 am saying this because it is one of ...
He was put out at ten and left to fend for himself and he wanted to do better by his sons. The irony is that Chris no longer wants the legacy and Larry would rather kill himself that know what his father did to earn it. The name of the play, “All My Sons,” is from a line toward the end of the third act. Joe says, “Then what is this if it isn’t telling me? Sure he was my son. But I think to him, they were all my sons. And I guess they were.” Here, Joe is accepting, at last, the responsibility for the death of the pilots that were killed. The question the author is asking is, “why do you love just one man, why not take care of every man as your son?”
FRANK: noticing tree: Hey, what happened to your tree?
KELLER: Ain’t that awful . . . I’m waiting for [Kate] to see it.
(Act 1 p. 2)
This is the foreshadowing of the haunting presence that Larry will hold over the entire play and the action that takes place on stage within the lives of his family.
KELLER: What difference does it make 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 was made in this world. Forgiven!”
(Act III, p. 42)
Joe is explaining to Kate why what he did wasn’t wrong. It was what everyone was doing to take care of their families and get ahead, so why did that make him any different?