The Collapse of The American Dream in All My Sons by Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller was an American playwright who was well known for his captivating and emotional play, All My Sons, in 1947. In this play, the Keller family is known as a great example of the American dream. Overall, the family tries to hide the effects that were caused because of their missing son, Larry. The family keeps hope in which their son will soon return. Chris Keller, which is later revealed, displays the nature of truth by expressing reason and bringing the family into conclusion that not only Larry isn’t alive but as to what the cause of his death was.
Throughout the play, Chris is seen as compassionate and straightforward. He is a loveable character known for expressing his emotions not only towards Ann, but towards his family. Similar to Kate, Chris tends to revolve around the idea of being a “perfect” family, (implying the American Dream) but eventually, he breaks out of habit and expresses as to why one should not hope for the reappearance of his brother. “Because it’s not right. We never took up our lives again. We’re like at a railroad station waiting for a train that never comes in.” In several instances, he tries his best to bring his family to reality.
Towards the end of the play, there was no question as to why Larry was missing but hopes of him returning was beginning to disperse. It seems that the Keller family was in denial of the true situation and letting go of the thought of Larry was a much harder obstacle. Believing that Larry was truly gone meant that the Keller family was going to have to face the true reason as to why he was missing. “I’ve let him go. I’ve let him go a long…. Kate: Then let your father go.” Joe Keller was also in denial. Chris questions his mother and why she still believes that Larry is alive. He states that his brother is dead but his family stays doubting him.
“Your brother’s alive, darling, because if he’s dead, your father killed him. Do you understand me now? As long as you live, that boy is alive.” Chris confronts Joe and tries to make his father understand of the wrong he had done. “Don’t you live in the world? What the hell are you? You’re not even an animal, no animal kills his own, what are you?”
“I know you’re no worse than most men but I thought you were better. I never saw you as a man. I saw you as my father. (Almost breaking) I can’t look at you this way, I can’t look at myself!” Chris knew his brother wasn’t alive and once he had found out as to why, he made it his goal to make sure his father felt he was being held accountable. Chris displayed the nature of truth in not only confronting his parents but by not falling into the ideals of a perfect American family. Chris Keller stayed true to what he believed in.
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