All My Sons (Penguin Classics)
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Joe Keller and Steve Deever, partners in a machine shop during World War II, turned out defective airplane parts, causing the deaths of many men. Deever was sent to prison while Keller escaped punishment and went back to business, making himself very wealthy in the ensuing years. In Miller’s work of tremendous power, a love affair between Keller's son, Chris, and Ann Deever, Steve’s daughter, the bitterness of George Keller, who returns from the war to find his father in prison and his father's partner free, and the reaction of a son to his father's guilt escalate toward a climax of electrifying intensity.
Winner of the Drama Critics' Award for Best New Play in 1947, All My Sons established Arthur Miller as a leading voice in the American theater. All My Sons introduced themes that thread through Miller's work as a whole: the relationships between fathers and sons and the conflict between business and personal ethics. This edition features an introduction by Christopher Bigsby.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
writes a lot about you. JIM: Don’t believe it. He likes everybody. In the Battalion he was known as Mother McKeller. ANN: I can believe it … You know——? [To MOTHER] It’s so strange seeing him come out of that yard. [To CHRIS] I guess I never grew up. It almost seems that Mom and Pop are in there now. And you and my brother doing Algebra, and Larry trying to copy my home-work. Gosh, those dear dead days beyond recall. JIM: Well, I hope that doesn’t mean you want me to move out? SUE [calling
drive. SUE: How’d you get to the station—Zeppelin? CHRIS: This is Mrs. Bayliss, George. [Calling, as GEORGE pays no attention, staring at house off L.] George! [GEORGE turns.] Mrs. Bayliss. SUE: How do you do. GEORGE [removing his hat]: You’re the people who bought our house, aren’t you? SUE: That’s right. Come and see what we did with it before you leave. GEORGE [he walks down and away from her]: I liked it the way it was. SUE [after a brief pause]: He’s frank, isn’t he? JIM [pulling her
[desperately, lost]: For you, Kate, for both of you, that’s all I ever lived for … MOTHER: I know, darling, I know … [ANN enters from house. They say nothing, waiting for her to speak.] ANN: Why do you stay up? I’ll tell you when he comes. KELLER [rises, goes to her]: You didn’t eat supper, did you? [To MOTHER] Why don’t you make her something? MOTHER: Sure, I’ll … ANN: Never mind, Kate, I’m all right. [They are unable to speak to each other.] There’s something I want to tell you. [She
this true, beyond his failure to confess his love to Ann for fear of disturbing his mother? He now declares his willingness to leave the family business if necessary, but in fact he is anxious to secure the terms on which he can remain, while condescending to it. The business, he explains to the father who has built it, as he knows, in part for him, doesn’t “inspire” him. But what does? He speaks of having to “grub for money” (17), as he later speaks resentfully of having to join the “rat race.”
human.” Chris, desperate to recover a lost idealism, fails to do so, and this failure, in its own way, makes him complicit in the very crime he would condemn. All My Sons expresses the familiar faith of the 1930s in the necessity for human solidarity. The play’s true strength, however, comes from the ambivalence that seeps into it. A work that could easily have resolved itself into a moral melodrama which, in stripping away self-deceit and lies and separating performance from actuality, assumed