All My Sons is really about the hypocritical USA government. Explain what's beneath the words..

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shaketeach's profile pic

shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I do not agree with your statement.  The play is about individual responsibility.  Knowingly Joe allows a shipment of airplane parts that he knows are not up to standard to be shipped.  The result is that 21 men die.  His son is also a victim although he is not in a airplane with the defective part.  Once he finds out about his father's actions, he commits suicide because he is ashamed of what his father has done.

Joe successfully set up his partner to take the blame and go to jail.  He convinces himself that he is not at fault and even believes his own lies to himself.  He even tries to convince his son that since everybody was doing it, it was OK.  He, of course, does not offer any proof that everybody did it.

Miller's play is about one man who chooses profit over safety.  The government did not make Joe lie.  He did that all by himself.  In any huge endeavor, human error is a factor.  To knowingly allow the result of the human error to be shipped out and used is criminal and the government can not be blamed for Joe's actions. Only Joe is to blame and he knows it.

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

One of the underlying themes in All My Sons has to do with the nature of patriotism versus the nature of brotherhood.  During the war, the government conscribed businesses to make machine parts to aid the war effort.  However, rather than making the safety of the soldiers paramount, the deliverance of goods was most important.  If we take Joe Keller's account of the situation as truth, then we must realize that the controlling factor in the situation was simply money.  Joe's patriotism was judged based on economical terms, and he made his decision based on the same.  Ironically, many men died as a result of Joe's decision, and Steve Deever lost his livelihood when he was imprisoned.  So rather than making a decision based on the safety of the men, Joe was pulled by other factors.  The government (at least in the play) suggests that supporting the war leads to a support of brotherhood, but here the irony is very clear--it does not.

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