All My Sons Character Analysis

amelia.eb
Mind Map by amelia.eb, updated more than 1 year ago More Less
amelia.eb
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GCSE English literature (All My Sons) Mind Map on All My Sons Character Analysis, created by amelia.eb on 03/26/2016.

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All My Sons Character Analysis
1 Joe Keller
1.1 Began his career in a 'machine shop'
1.2 Business man, self-made man
1.3 Materialistic
1.3.1 Clues, reads 'wants' ads, items in garden
1.4 Likes privacy
1.4.1 Garden furniture hints otherwise
1.5 Proud
1.5.1 'nicely painted', 'tight and comfortable'
1.6 Keeps world at bay
1.6.1 Not interested in the world, shown by not reading news section in a newspaper
1.7 Well off
1.8 'A man among men'
1.8.1 He stands out
1.8.2 Embodies American ideal
1.9 Family man
1.9.1 Devoted to his family
1.10 Secluded garden
1.10.1 'poplars cut off view', closely planted poplars
1.10.1.1 Hiding something
1.11 Pride
1.11.1 Content with home
1.12 Protective of family
1.13 Uneducated
1.13.1 Not born into money, earnt it
1.13.2 Speaks in small sentences
1.13.2.1 Informal
1.13.2.2 Non-gramatical
1.14 One stupid mistake brings him crashing down
1.14.1 Commits suicide
1.14.2 Questions American ideal
1.15 Individual
1.15.1 He represents the American ideal
1.15.2 Ordinary man
1.15.3 Respected
1.15.4 Big
1.15.5 High status
1.15.6 Good talker
1.15.6.1 Even though his neighbours know what he's done, they still like him
1.15.7 Sociable
1.16 Doesn't move with time
1.17 Late 50's
1.18 Comes across as likable and friendly but he is willing to bully or psychologically overpower others to get his way and threatens physical violence
1.18.1 Throughout the play he becomes more greedy and selfish and this leads to his suicide
1.18.2 Lacks a true understanding of those outside his family
1.19 Tragic hero
1.19.1 His tragic flaws that destroy his family and define him
1.19.1.1 Drive to succeed no matter the cost
1.19.1.2 Failure to accept responsibility for his actions
1.19.2 Punished by the loss of his two sons (one literally, the other figuratively), disintegration of his family and finally his life
1.19.3 Wears mask of a strong man but underneath he is weak and this leads to his death
1.19.3.1 His interactions in act 1 with Jim and Frank lead us to believe his comfortable position in life but as he spoke with his family, they exposed his negative aspects and the pressure on him
1.20 As the shop incident unravels his confidence and self-assurance evaporate
1.20.1 When George arrives he panics and to Chris' idea of him
1.20.1.1 In these situations, it is Kate that calms him
1.20.1.2 he instinctively reacts with a burst of anger which is directed to those around him
1.20.1.2.1 e.g. When Kate force him to remember himself, he 'in hopeless fury, looks at her, turns around, goes up the porch and into the house, slamming screen door violently behind him' act 1 pg 40
1.20.2 However when directly confronting George, his confidence increases and he speaks persuasively mainly because of his overpowering charisma
1.20.2.1 e.g. in act 2 pg 62 when he fills the stage with his presence and briefly convinces George of his innocence though as he become out of control of the situation, his confidence turns into bullying and yelling as he order Kate 'You heard me. Now you know what to tell him' Act 3 pg 77
1.21 Ethical dilemma
2 Kate Keller
2.1 Ruling power of family
2.1.1 Both Chris and Keller defer to her
2.2 Accomplice in Keller's deception and equally committed to keeping Keller's secret
2.2.1 Prevents Chris from spilling the beans
2.3 Obsessive belief that Larry will return
2.4 Keller's jokes is far more apt than he realises: 'I wear the pants and she beats me with the belt' Act 2 pg. 62
2.5 Until the end of act 1, she is defined by her illness and emotional instability
2.5.1 Though she still manages to control people
2.5.2 Her psychological fragility dominates the other characters perception of her
2.5.2.1 Other characters try to protect her from news that might upset he
2.5.3 Uses to manipulate Chris and Keller
2.5.3.1 e.g. She declares 'if he's not coming back, then I'll kill myself!' Act 1 pg 22 forcing Chris and Keller to support her belief of Larry being alive
2.6 She often dreams of Larry and wanders about the house a night
2.7 She is highly excitable, nervous and often complains of headaches
2.8 Has a virtually unshakeable belief that by the power of her mind, she can keep Larry alive
2.8.1 Her dreams of Larry show us as readers just how she feels towards Larry's death
2.8.1.1 'He was so real I could reach out and touch him. And suddenly he started to fall. And crying to me ... Mom, Mom! I could hear him like he was in the room. Mom! ... it was his voice! If I could touch him I knew I could stop him, if only -' Act 1 pg 20
2.8.1.1.1 In her dream, Larry too believe she can stop him from dying
2.8.2 For her, everyone must believe that Larry is alive to ensure that he is so when doubt of this is expressed by another character she reacts with irrational anger
2.9 The contrast between her control over Keller and the lack of control of herself are shown in the stage directions
2.10 It is her lapse in maintaining the fictive account of the shop incident that undermines their (her and Keller) and leads to the decisive confrontation between Chris and Keller
2.11 Sympathetic
2.11.1 Even though she shares the blame for trying to conceal the shop incident
2.11.2 Her interactions with George in act 2 shows she is genuinely caring and has a maternal aspect to her that hasn't yet been seen
2.11.2.1 This aspect of her personality is only seen with Chris at the end of the play
2.11.2.1.1 Her grief over the death of her other son Larry had left her unable to express her love to her surviving son
2.11.3 Shows genuine remorse to her sons' generation as they were subjected to such brutality through the war
2.11.3.1 Her regret demonstrates that she feels maternal responsibilities for all the young people that had to suffer
2.11.4 Miller emphasises this aspect of her personality by referring to her as MOTHER instead of KATE in the stage directions
2.11.5 However at the same time we are lead to see that she has committed the same crime of selfishness as Keller
2.11.5.1 Chris finds fault in his mother and says 'You can be better! Once and for all you can know there's a universe of people outside and you're responsible to it, and unless you know that, you threw away your son because that's why he died' act 3 pg 84
2.11.5.1.1 Chris disapproves of his mother for supporting his fathers deception
2.11.5.2 Her selfishness extends to her role as a mother, as far as Chris is concerned, as she choses to alienate her surviving son rather than accept the death of Larry; a gross violation of her maternal responsibilities
2.11.5.2.1 At the end of the plat she acknowledges the she did to Chris in favouring her dead son, Larry
2.12 Role in the shop incident is never explained
2.12.1 Given the control she has over Keller in the play, maybe she prompted Keller's action at the time of the crucial phone call
3 Chris Keller
3.1 Faced with difficult question of whether he should support his father (and his family) or he has a greater responsibility to society
3.2 Characters in the play perceive him as upright, honest and uncompliacted
3.2.1 Not accurate evaluation as he has a strong sense of morality but driven by more complex inclinations that other characters fail to see
3.3 His dissatisfaction of life is partly due to what he perceives as limits that others have put on him by their low evaluation of his intelligence and ambition
3.3.1 This begins from his first appearance on stage as his words emphasise the difference between his aspirations and what others think of him; Keller says 'You're always reading the book section and you never buy a book.' Act 1 pg 11
3.3.1.1 His father's response to Chris' interest, even though joking, prompts Chris to downplay his desire for intellectual challenge
3.4 When Keller wants to rename the plant to include him, Keller assumes his son is 'ashamed of the money' Act 1 pg 38; this is true but Chris also wants to live a different life, uninfluenced by feelings of shame over the unclear circumstances of the shop incident
3.4.1 His father fails to understand that Chris may want change not only to escape but to gain a larger experience of life
3.5 Believes that social responsibility is a moral imperative
3.5.1 Has this view partly from when he took part in ww2 and the horrific things he saw and experienced
3.6 Time as a soldier has made him dislike violence so when he was mad at George, he was able to supress his violence however he wasn't when he confronted Keller over the shop incident; after he hits him, he weeps showing his conflicting emotions
3.7 In act 3, when confronted by his father's guilt, he declares that his attitude to the world has changed as it is no longer possible to have the utopian idea of social responsibilities. He reacts by claiming that the world is inhumane and that the morality he believed defined human beings was a misconception.
3.7.1 Chris equates practicality (that he blames his mother for giving him as he says 'You made me practical' act 3 pg 80) with selfishness and a cold-hearted disregard for others
3.7.1.1 He claims to have come to terms with people who are similar minded to his father, who are driven by self-interest, are those who are succeed in society
3.7.1.1.1 At the end of the play, his belief in the importance of social responsibility, and his experiences from the war, overpower his attempts at dispassionate self-interest. Hearing Larrys letter proves to him that his fathers decision was an anomaly andshows just how society shouldn't function
3.7.1.1.1.1 He tells his mother 'It's not enough to be sorry. Larry didn't kill himself to make you and Dad sorry.' Act 3 pg 84
3.7.1.1.1.2 He initially blames himself for his fathers suicide, he has overcome his ethical crisis and held to his beliefs
4 Ann Deever
4.1 Struggles with other people's perceptions and expectations of her
4.1.1 Assumptions that she has put her life on hold to wait for her one true love to return (Larry), and supports her husband no matter his criminal convictions
4.1.1.1 Refuses to conform to roles of model lover and daughter
4.1.1.1.1 Shows strength and independence e.g. she is strong when settling her marriage with Chris; does not accept Kate's persuasion nor Sue's agression
4.2 Through act 1, she overcomes her discomfort at confronting the past and this is when we see her independence come through
4.2.1
4.2.2 Returning causes her to confront her fathers 'criminality' and she challenges the identity she left behind; this is forced on her as she tries to not talk about her father when she brings him up in conversations, she clearly rejects him 'Father or no father, there's only one way to look at him. He knowingly shipped out parts that would crash an aeroplane' act 1 pg 31
4.2.2.1 Principle overrules her family relationship
4.3 She is defiant towards Kate
4.3.1 In act 1, Kate repeatedly try's to get her to say that she is waiting for Larry ; 'There are just a few things you don't know. All of you. And i'll tell you one of them, Annie. Deep, deep in your heart you're always waiting for him' act 1 pg 27 and Ann replies resolutely with 'No, Kate'
4.3.1.1 After this, Kate kept implicitly encouraging her that she should leave
4.3.1.2 She is willing to sacrifice her relationship with Kate in order to be with Chris
4.3.1.2.1 She has got Chris to tell his mother about their marriage but he keeps on putting it off
4.4 In act 2, when her brother arrives, she is forceful and mothering
4.4.1 She shows concern about his disorderly appearance and agitated manner
5 George Deever
6 Jim and Sue Bayliss
7 Frank and Lydia Lubey
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