What is the function of the newspaper in the first act of Arthur Miller's play All My Sons?

The function of the newspaper in the first act of All My Sons is to show the families gathered at the Keller home living in denial. They all want to avoid the news section of the paper in favor of the weather, want ads, or book sections. Kate gravitates towards the stories of missing soldiers still being found so she can deny that Larry is dead. Their attitudes toward the news suggest buried secrets.

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The function of the newspaper in the first act of Arthur Miller's play All My Sons is to set the scene with a communal activity that involves minimal actual interaction but also serves to introduce the characters and some of their important character traits. It is Sunday, and much like any other typical American family or group of friends, people are together reading various sections of the Sunday paper. Although they are together physically, their actual interactions are brief, as each person engages with the newspaper individually. However, the dialogue, which revolves around the paper itself, reveals aspects of the characters’ personalities that become important to the general theme of the play and become apparent over the course of the three acts.

For instance, Jim Bayliss, a doctor and a man of science, is skeptical that the newspaper has pegged the weather in an accurate and scientific manner. Importantly, of all the sections Joe Keller might be reading, he is reading the want ads....

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1048 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 11, 2021
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 11, 2021
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