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Is All My Sons a play concerned with the false values in American life?

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daffy9 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 23, 2009 at 12:16 AM via web

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Is All My Sons a play concerned with the false values in American life?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 23, 2009 at 7:43 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the play's themes is the American dream, owning a home, being successful in business having a stable financial life, being able to support your family in style.  Joe Keller has attained the American dream in "All My Sons."  He has a nice house, in a good neighborhood, he has a thriving business and his son now works in his factory.

The problem with Joe Keller's American dream is that in order to protect it, he has acted without morals or ethics, sacrificing not only the lives of the pilots who flew the planes with the faulty parts, but Steve Deever's life as well.

Joe acts outside of integrity and honor that is also associated with the American dream, earning your way in the world by hard work and dedication, following the rules and remaining committed to your objectives until you reach your goal.

Joe violates the rules when he acts in a criminal manner to protect himself, he says to protect his family.  But really he could not bear to see all that he worked for disappear if he did not fill the military contract on time.

Joe promotes false values in order to preserve his lifestyle, therefore, he has not fulfilled the American dream, but turned his back on American ideals.  He is no longer decent or honest, but a liar and a fraud. 

 "Joe sacrifices his integrity to materialism, and he makes a reprehensible decision that sends American pilots to their deaths, something he is finally forced to face."

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