All My Sons Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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Why does Sue feel that the Kellers are superior to her family in All My Sons?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Sue Bayliss is convinced that Joe Keller profited from illegal activities during the Second World War. She claims that all their neighbors share the same view. Sue resents the idea that Joe's ill-gotten gains are the basis of the successful business in which Chris works. Even more than her negative opinion of Joe, however, Sue resents the superior attitude of both Kate and Chris.

Rather than feel that the Kellers are superior, she believes that they act as if they are superior to the Baylisses. Sue is tired of Kate's uncertain mourning over Larry, the son she cannot admit is dead. She especially resents Chris for trying to influence her husband, Jim, to take a less lucrative but more virtuous route in medicine.

These impressions emerge strongly during her conversation with Ann Deever about her upcoming marriage to Chris. Referring to the Kellers as "the Holy Family," Sue tells Ann that Chris should not advocate others' wearing a "hair shirt" and sneers at his "phony idealism."

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Kitty Sharp eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The above post is correct--Sue Bayliss does not feel that the Kellers are superior to her family in All My Sons.  Sue does not really like the Kellers because she feels that they think they are better than all their neighbors.  Sue, and many of the other neighbors, do not believe that Joe is innocent, and they are angry that Steve is serving time alone for a crime that Joe likely committed.  Sue thinks that Joe is a braggart, and she is annoyed by his continually trying to win over the neighbors.  Sue does not like when her husband Jim talks to the men in the Keller home because she thinks the Kellers give Jim the wrong ideas about life. 

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acelightning | Student

She doesn't think that they actually are. She resents Joe for being able to commit the crime and get away with it, and at the same time admires him. But she thinks that Chris sees himself as better than everyone when really he's just as aware of it as Joe -- hence her mention of "Phoney idealism."

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jphenderson | Student

She believes that Joe is guilty.

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