In All My Sons, what can be learned in the scene in Act 2 where there are no Kellers on the stage? In other words: what can we learn about the attitude about the neighbors from that scene?
When Sue Bayliss has a private conversation with Ann Deever, she tells her to move far away once she marries Chris.
Chris, she says, is an idealist, he has suggested to Jim that he give up his medical practice to do medical research. Chris has been trying to convince her husband to abandon his lucrative medical practice to pursue medical research that would pay a lot less money. Sue feels like she has little say in the matter and that Chris, who is persistent, might just ruin her way of life.
Sue explains to Ann that as a practicing doctor, Jim makes good money, as a researcher, hoping to find a cure for some disease, he would be helping mankind, but his salary would be drastically reduced. Sue says its ok for Chris to want to save the world, because he does not have to worry about his income. He works for his father, and will one day be the owner of the factory. So he should keep his dreamy ideas to himself.
"Her comments reveal deep jealousy and resentment of the Kellers, especially Chris, whom she believes nurtures an idealism that is ridiculous, in view of the financial success of his business and the social standing of his family. In fact, Sue believes that Chris is distracting Jim from his work and encouraging a frivolous desire to leave his medical practice for a career in research. The conversation becomes heated as the two women argue, first about Chris and then about the reputation of the entire Keller family."