In All My Sons, what are the consequences of Joe Keller's decision made during the war?What impact does that decision have on his wife, son, Ann, George, and Steve Deever?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Joe Keller's decision to ship the faulty machine parts has serious consequences on his friends and family (not to mention the young pilots who died as a result).  Joe's decision has put into question the sense of trust, innocence, and responsibility that his friends and family have in both Joe and their own lives.  For example, Chris and Ann's relationship is virtually destroyed when Joe reveals what he has done.  Even before this, the relationship has been on tenuous ground--George for instance does not believe that the Keller family is morally upstanding and, therefore, does not want Ann to marry into it.  George has such strong feelings because he has gone to visit Steve in prison, and Steve has shared with George the details of the situation regarding the shipping of the parts.  Steve alone has taken the fall for Joe's decision while Joe freely continues with his life.  Besides Steve, Kate is the only other person who knows the truth, and she has had to keep Joe's secret for years.  As a result, she has become a disillusioned person, one who places her trust and belief in that which can never be (i.e. her hope that Larry is still alive).  So, Joe's decision has major consequences on the other people in his life.