All My Sons Act Two Part One


Section A

The start of Act Two


Chris: Look . . . Let me know when George gets here.

Miller indicates that there are secrets and tension beneath the surface of the Keller family. The arrival of George naturally causes tension as kate acts strangley and Joe is always sleeping - they know they're hiding a big secret. 

Kate wants to see George but she knows it's dangerous because the truth might come out. 

In a direct command to indicate her clarity of purpose:

When George goes home tell her (Annie) to go with him.

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Section B

Sue: Is my husband -?


Ann: Oh . . . 

Having both Ann and Sue on stage alone gives Miller a chance to reveal more about Ann Deever. 

Ann: I don't know. I think it's mostly that whenever I need somebody to tell me the truth I've always thought of Chris. When he tells you something you know it's so. he relaxes me.

Language Analysis: Ann justfies that Chris is straight-forward and they are both uncompromising in their ethics and they see the world in black-and-white terms. They don't understand people who don't live up to their ideals and if they think a person has done something wrong, they don't find it easy to understand why. The verb 'relaxes' shows her trust for Chris - perhaps Ann has been feeling tense and there is something she doesn't want to admit is true and this could be to do with her father's guilt.

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Section C

Sue: That's why I've been intending to ask you a small favour, Ann. It's something very important to me.


Sue: Hello, darling. How's Mother?

Sue: Who is he (Chris) to ruin a man's (Jim's) life? Everybody knows Joe pulled a fast one to get out of jail.

Miller builds more doubts and questions about Larry's death and what actually happened in the factory. The neighbourhood think Joe is just as guilty as Steven despite Joe not going to jail. Sue says this to imply that Joe Keller is not as idealistic and perfect as Ann would like to think - and so Chris has no right being that way either.

Miller uses minor characters to increase doubts about the Keller family and to further enhance tension surrounding the loss of Larry.

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Section D

Chris: I thought George came.


Chris: Do you think I could forgive him if he'd done that thing?

We already know George is about to arrive but Ann's presence is also disturbing as she is 'Larry's girl' but Chris is in love with her and she threatens to unsettle Kate and Keller for this reason. If the truth about the business were to come, it would ruin their father-son relationship and this increases dramatic tension as it's clear the two love each other as well.

Language Analysis: The question is bold and Chris describes the incident - sending out faulty plane parts, and his father's involvement in that - as 'that thing'. This is an indirect way of speaking, using the generic noun 'thing'  rather than openly naming it. This implies that Chris finds it hard to talk about and that he talks quick as he is emotional which helps to show us his mental and emotional state at this time.

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Section E

Ann: I'm not here out of a blue sky, Chris. I turned my back on my farther, if there's anything wrong here now -


Keller: I don't know, everybody's gettin' so Goddam educated in this country, there'll be nobody to take away the garbage . . . it's gettin' so that the only dumb ones left are the bosses.

Ann uses an interesting image when replying to Chris's heated question and it recalls Larry's career as a pilot and his mother's dream. In this context, her image is a metaphor that she is not unaware of the past. She knows about the two families shared history and she isn't a stranger.

She deals with Larry's death by blaming her father and rejecting him as she is dependent on her certainty that her father is guilty and not Joe and if anything threatens the certainty of this truth, then it will force her to confront painful questions.

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Section F

Ann: You're not dumb Joe.


Keller: To know you got a place . . . it sweetens you.

Miller shows us keller's firm conviction that family is all the matters. This is how he sees the world and he thinks that parent-child relationships are also of supreme importance to other people. Hence he says:

You're in love now, Annie, but believe me, i'm older than you and I know - a daughter is a daughter, and a father is a father. And it could happen.

Keller thinks blame and shame could come between the father-son relationship. Keller thinks Ann's loyalties would be to her father. 

Family bonds are so important to Keller that he doesn't want Steven to have any resentment out of jail; justifying his decision to welcome him back into the family business - a kind gesture but used to disguise his own guilt, shame and deception.

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Section G

Ann: Joe, you owe him nothing.


Keller: 'Oh come on up, come on up, and comb my lady's hair -

Keller is made nervous by the way Ann rejected her father under the assumption that he is guilty. He fears how Chris would react if he found out his dad was the guilty one. He knows Chris acts in a far more idealistic fashion in comparison to Ann and therefore he is worried, nervous and tense underneath it all.

Stage directions tell us that Keller is speaking with 'high nervousness' and is angry. He speaks 'as though the outburst has revealed him.' What he says - 'a father, is a father' - is his own highest ideal. No matter what, you shouldn't reject your father. Keller is tense.

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Section H

Chris: What's the matter? Where is he?


Chris: Nobody's afraid of him here. Cut that out!

Sue's arrival causes tension with Ann as matters to do with the past are obviously not sorted. 

Jim speaks directly: You know why he's here, don't try to kid it away. There's blood in his eye; drive him somewhere and talk to him alone.

Jim knows George is expected after seeing his father in prison and this suggests that George and his father are on speaking terms and he could bring back information about what really happened in the factory. George wants to take Ann back with him implying that he doesn't want Ann around the Kellers.

Jim insists that Ann drive George away to talk so his arrival doesn't 'explode' in front of Kate which suggests the powerful emotional impact that George's arrival is certain to have.

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Section I

Chris: Helluva way to do; what're you sitting out there for?


Chris: Kind of remark is that?

Miller communicates a lot about George with dramatic techniques when he arrives. For example: he looks pale and he acts as if he is on edge - he is tense and uptight with the truth he now knows. Miller shows the audience that he is nervous, such as 'forced appreciation' of the grape juice.

His arrival is explosive - he upsets the pretence that the Kellers have been trying to maintain by making the issue hard to ignore. He doesn't see that there can be any connection between the Kellers and Deevers anymore. This will cause conflict as Ann and Chris are in love and the two families have a close and shared history together.

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Section J

Ann: When did you start wearing a hat?


Ann: You kissed me when I left, now you -

His arrival is problematic by the way he speaks about his father:

'He's a little man. That's what happens to suckers, you know. It's good I went to him in time - another year there'd be nothing left but his smell.'

He connects the literal and metaphorical meanings of the adjective 'little' when he suggests that his father is literally getting physically smaller in jail. Other characters describe Steve as 'little' meaning weak and unimportant. George connects to this meaning by suggesting his dad is a 'sucker' which is a vivid American idiom. George implies that because his dad is 'little' and a 'sucker' he is physically shortening in height. This is a graphic way of describing what his false imprisonment has done to him and now George is sure of the truth.

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Section K

George: I couldn't go back to work when you left.


George: The court didn't know your father! But you know him. You know in your heart Joe did it.

George arrives and makes it clear that he thinks him and Ann are wrong to cut out their father and blame him and he gives his father's account of what happened at the factory which compliments Keller's own account in Act One of what happened in the factory, when he asked everyone to 'see it human.'  George: they knew he was a liar the first time, but in the appeal they believed that rotten lie and now Joe is a big shot and your father is the patsy. Now what're you going to do? Eat his food, sleep in his bed? Answer me; what're you going to do?

Miller communicates George's emotional state. If Keller allowed Deever to take the blame, Ann can have no business marrying Chris. His shortened question shows how urgent an issue this is for him. using the connective 'and' would be more expected in standard English. But Miller is reproducing spontaneous speech to communicate character's feelings. George is angry, tense, nervous and emotional and this comes out in his language.

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Section L

Chris: Lower your voice or I'll throw you out of here!


Ann: Don't talk like that!

George: Everything they have is covered with blood. 

This phrase is vivid as it brings out George's sense of the Keller's guilt. They have blood on their hands as a result of their business being responsbile for the incident. Since their business is how they pay for 'everything they have' this image cuts straight to the point. The Keller's have profited from this incident.

George recalls Ann, when he says that because Chris was such a trustworthy and straightforward man, they both believed him and the court verdict. And in Chris's opinion, his father was not guilty and Deever was the only one responsible.

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