Kate, Larry's mother, is a sympathetic character who wants to believe her son Larry is still alive. After all, he is technically missing in action from World War II rather than officially declared dead. He could, therefore, still be alive, although the rest of his family has accepted his death.
Kate is shaken when the tree planted to commemorate Larry blows over when Ann Deever, his former fiancee, arrives at the house. However, Kate clings to the idea that a horoscope reading by a neighbor will tell her whether Larry had his plane crash on a "lucky" day and perhaps might have survived.
Ann's arrival, and the desire of she and Chris, Kate's other son, to marry, shakes Kate's world. If Kate accepts the marriage of Ann and Chris, it means she must give up the fiction that Larry is still alive, something she simply does not want to face. In part, she doesn't want to face it because she feels it would confirm Joe's guilt as a murderer for covering up the defects in the cylinders of the P-40 fighters, leading to the death of several pilots: she links her son's death, if irrationally, to her husband's guilt.
Kate lives with a denial that helps her hold herself together in face of her losses: loss of faith in her husband and loss of a son. In the end, after Joe's death, she is able to give up her story of Larry being alive (especially after Ann shows her Larry's suicide note) and allow Chris his happiness with Ann.