What is the significance of the discussion that Sue has with Ann in act 2 of All My Sons?

The discussion between Sue and Ann in act 2 of All My Sons reveals Sue’s materialism, resentment of Chris, and jealousy of the Kellers. While Ann grows increasingly angry as Sue insults her fiancé, the argument is useful in helping her understand the obstacles that she and Chris will face after they marry.

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In act 2 of All My Sons, a conversation between Sue Bayliss and Ann Deever in the Keller family’s backyard soon turns into an argument. Their conversation provides insights into Sue’s character, as she is shown to be extremely materialistic as well as conservative about gender issues. Sue values financial stability and believes that a husband should be a good provider for his wife and family. As she expounds on her views of marriage, the contrasting views of Ann, who sees marriage as more of a partnership of equals, also become evident. This discussion also reveals Sue’s pettiness in general and her resentment of Chris in particular. She not only shows jealousy of the Kellers, who are more financially successful than her family, but accuses Chris of hypocrisy in taking an idealist stance.

As Ann becomes more and more irritated at Sue’s criticism of Chris, whom she accuses of misleading Jim with his ideas about the value of research, she also comprehends the importance of Sue’s position. Rather than a solitary outlier, Sue represents the point of view of many people in their community. Although Ann had been prepared to face family opposition—both from her own brother and father and from Chris’s parents—she now realizes that popular opinion may also be against them.

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