All My Sons Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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In the play All My Sons, even though Larry is not seen throughout the play, how does he affect the many characters in the book?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In one sense the entire play is about Larry, as a Christlike figure sacrificed for humanity, the son who represents all sons. For both the Kellers and the Deevers, the life or death of Larry is the link between past and future, between America's innocence in the prewar years and the postwar boom—an era of prosperity that is indelibly tainted by the corruption on which too many people built fortunes.

At first it is clear that Kate suffers more than anyone. Clinging desperately to the dim hope that Larry is still alive, she lives in a fantasy world, constantly widening the chasm that separates her from the rest of her family and, more generally, from the mentally healthy. There is no safe ground on which to converse with her as everything goes back to her lost son. Kate believes herself an optimist, but everyone else can see how she has fallen into obsession.

Ultimately, however, Joe's denial and suffering prove even more damaging than those of his wife. First, through lies and...

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Kitty Sharp eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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