All My Sons Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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How is Keller's former partner shown in "All My Sons"?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Steve Deever is presented in All My Sons as a patsy, a victim of the obsessive, headlong pursuit of the American Dream. What Miller is doing here is alerting us to the fact that it's often the little guy who gets chewed up and spat out by an economic system in which the bottom line takes precedence over everything else. To some extent, Joe Keller also ends up as a victim of the American Dream. But it's instructive that he only receives justice by his own hand. Steve, on the other hand, takes the legal rap for Joe's greed and negligence and ends up going to prison. Unlike his business partner, Steve hasn't been able to escape the legal consequences of his actions. Miller is presenting the unequal legal treatment meted out to Steve as a metaphor for the law's protection of bosses at the expense of their employees.

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Edith Sykes eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Steve Deever is Joe Keller's former partner in business.  When the play begins, he is in jail for the crime that both he and Joe were originally convicted of, shipping cracked cylinder heads to the military which resulted in the deaths of 21 pilots.

Steve and Joe were tried and both convicted, Joe went to prison, but on appeal, he lied to the court, claiming that he was not in the factory on the day that Steve made the decision to ship the cracked cylinder heads to the military in order to meet the time requirements of the military contract.

Joe Keller claimed that he was home sick with the flu that day and denied that he told Steve to weld over the cracks and ship the parts out.  So Steve is made to take the blame for the entire incident of the cracked cylinder heads.

The first real information that the reader gets about Steve Deever is when George, his son, and Anne's brother, arrives at the Keller's home to confront Joe about the fact that his father was framed for the crime and that he is wasting away in jail.

George describes his father this way:

"He's a little man.  that's what happens to suckers, you know.  it's good I went to him in time, another year there'd be nothing left but his smell." (Miller)

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