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How does Arthur Miller illustrate the complex situation in ACT 1 in "All My Sons"?

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English B HL J�rgen Reiten IB-2 September 2003 Ms Hall How does Arthur Miller illustrate the complex situation in ACT 1 in "All My Sons"? "All My Sons" was written in 1947 by the American Jewish writer, Arthur Miller. It is a tragedy about the manufacturer, Joe Keller, who sells defected cylinder heads to the military in order to save his business. It talks about morality in the context of desperation, and appealed greatly to the American people who had just gone through a war and a depression. Arthur Miller uses several techniques in Act 1 to illustrate the complex situation he himself has created. We are introduced to a neighbourhood consisting of the Kellers, the Baylisses and the Lubeys. Joe Keller is put forward as a father figure, and his home is a welcoming place where neighbours come to chat and spend time with each other. ...read more.


Arthur Miller introduces several different conflicts; a) Larry is gone, but Mother is still mourning. b) Chris wants to marry Ann, but won't get Mother's blessing - the typical 'forbidden love' conflict. c) Is there something supernatural going on since the tree blew down when Ann returned? d) Ann's father has committed a terrible crime. e) George Deever is coming and the Kellers are nervous. All these conflicts has somewhat of the same origin, which strengthens them, and they are discussed only between a few characters at a time. This technique underlines the complex situation in the play. As a reader, you understand that something is being hidden, something that happened three and a half years ago. One of the most significant techniques Arthur Miller uses to illustrate the complex situation, is the use of stage directions. Through these, we see how the characters feel, and what kind of conflicts they are facing. One good example is Frank and Ann's conversation on page 114: "FRANK: Don't say! ...read more.


(...) KELLER [desperately]: Once and for all, did you hear what I said? I said I'm sure! MOTHER [nods weakly]; All right, Joe (...) [KELLER, in hopeless fury, looks at her, turns around, goes up to porch and into house, slamming screen door violently behind him. MOTHER sits in chair downstage, stiffly, staring, seeing.]" 4 We see how nervous the two characters get, and we understand that they are hiding something. Miller uses this dialogue to make the reader want to continue reading. Arthur Miller illustrates the complex situation by introducing several conflicts, all with the same origin. He strengthens them using stage directions and by introducing a variety of different characters - like a big melting pot. The use of 'in medias res' gives the reader only a clue about what has happened in the past, makes the situation more tense, and gives the reader an eager lust for answers. Word count: 597 (without quotations) 1 Miller Arthur, "All My Sons", Act 1, Page 100 2 Ibid, Page 106 3 Ibid, Page 114 4 Miller Arthur, "All My Sons", Act 1, Page 126 ...read more.

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