Why is Joe troubled about Ann’s harsh attitude toward her father (Deever) while she believes him to be responsible for the deaths of 21 pilots? What important value of his is Ann defying, and how...

Why is Joe troubled about Ann’s harsh attitude toward her father (Deever) while she believes him to be responsible for the deaths of 21 pilots? What important value of his is Ann defying, and how do you know this is one of Keller’s values?

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allie-draper | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Joe has a lot of reasons to be troubled by Ann's unforgiving attitude toward her father, who she believes responsible for the deaths of twenty-one pilots as a result of the cracked cylinder heads he allowed to be shipped to the Air Force. Initially it seems that Joe is unwilling to be so critical of his partner, a man he cared for and respected; he says Steve Deever gave way under enormous pressure, and so is perhaps weak, but not a bad person. He would even let Steve work at the company again. Joe's magnanimity and generosity—especially in light of Steve's accusations implicating him as well—win both Ann's and Chris's admiration.

Perhaps what Joe values most is forgiveness and leniency when evaluating the struggles of others. The problem, however, is that Joe's forgiving spirit is compromised by the fact that he himself is equally guilty of the crimes he "forgives." Knowing the shipment was defective, Joe allowed it to be sent (under the impression the parts would never be installed) because the halt in production would have cost the business dearly—and so would have cost Joe's family dearly as well. Joe says he did it for his family; perhaps, then, family loyalty is what he values most, even at the expense of others. Maybe this is why he is so upset by Ann's lack of loyalty to her father and her inability to forgive him. Even to the end, Joe never really understands why what he did is enough to make him a bad person; it is the revulsion he sees in his sons (one of whom he learns killed himself in shame) that at last convinces him he has failed.

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