All My Sons: Like or Dislike?

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All My Sons: Like or Dislike?

"All My Sons" by Arthur Miller is one of the first dramatic plays or stories that I have read and truly enjoyed. Written and set in 1947, I wasn't sure what to expect but as I began reading, it became quite the page turner. Arthur Miller, being a prominent figure in American theater and playwright, has a unique style of writing that seems to capture all aspects of a good story in a manner that's not only easy to read but also quite intriguing.1 In this play in particular, Miller's character development, themes, and choice of title all seem to tie together perfectly and create a story that I would recommend to a lot of people.2

Although this play is quite short, Miller is able to define each character's personality in a clear and concise manner. Throughout the play we see many different sides of the most important character, Joe Keller. In the opening seen, Miller gives the reader a description of Joe that helps us understand why he is the type of person he is today. "When he reads, when he speaks, when he listens, it is with the terrible concentration of the uneducated man for whom there is still wonder in many commonly known things, a man whose judgements must be dredged out of experience and a peasant-like common sense. A man among men." (358) As the play continues, this image we have of Joe comes up again and again, but as the truths in the story begin to play out we realize who Joe really is. After his son Chris discovers the truth about the actions of his father, Joe begins to show his true colors in a desperate and guilty manner. "I spoiled the both of you. I should've put him out when he was ten like I was put out, and made him earn his keep….I could live on a quarter a day myself, but I got a family so I…Nothin' is bigger!" (425) As selfish as Joe was to authorize the shipment of the faulty parts and not take blame, he wants his family to understand that he did it for them. Miller does a great job of showing that deep...