All My Sons Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What is greater than family to Chris Keller in Arthur Miller's play All My Sons?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is debatable whether Chris Keller values anything more than family. Arthur Miller makes it clear that Chris greatly values courage; much of the play is concerned with his struggle to be brave. However, this struggle is bound up with his attitude toward family as he has lived so long in his brother’s shadow. Larry, who was engaged to Ann first, died a war hero (they believe). Because of his deep feelings for his family, Chris has withheld the news about his engagement to Ann. But it may also be the case that Chris suspects that true courage would consist of forging his own path rather than marry his brother’s former fiancée.

As Chris is forced to confront the truth about his father’s illegal and immoral activities, he begins to find himself. He decides to leave the family business and break off with Ann. While these decisions seem to indicate courage and are based in his deep moral conviction, they can also be seen as stemming from his concern for his family. If he stayed with Ann but left the business, they would likely feel betrayed. Chris’ plan for a clean break paradoxically indicates his fear of continuing to face his parents after disappointing them.

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It can be said that in Arthur Miller's All My Sons, the one thing Chris Keller loves more than his family is moral integrity, especially in the form of honesty.

We particularly see Chris's value of honesty when it begins to look like his father Joe played an intentionally criminal role with respect to a shipment of damaged engine parts. Ann's father Steve is in prison for intentionally shipping defective engine parts to be used in military planes. When 21 pilots are killed due to the defect, Joe Keller, Steve's boss, pretends he knew nothing of the defective shipment and has Steve indicted. Chris Keller has always believed his father to be completely innocent of the crime; however, later Ann hints that Chris should reconsider his father's guilt. Chris's response is to say, "Do you think I could forgive him if he'd done that thing?," showing us just how much Chris values honesty and moral integrity; he values these things more than he values his family or forgiveness.

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