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Presentation of memory in All My Sons

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Arthur Miller uses many different devices to present the different aspects of memory throughout the play. The structure of three acts in the play is important for organising the different memories of past events throughout 'All My Sons'. The dramatic narratives are arranged as a series of episodes in three structures at the beginning of each act. In the first act, Miller presents a very detailed description of the typical 'American dream' house and setting, which the audience can see throughout the drama. This is symbolic of the presentation of Keller's memory of the view that Larry had of the world, that it ' had a forty-foot front, it ended at the building line.' The description of Keller's expensive, 'fifteen thousand' dollar house shows that Keller is an example of the wealthy, business orientated and perhaps greedy people that Larry was critical of when he was alive. ...read more.


Chris's character is introduced symbolically after Keller states that in his day 'when you had sons it was an honour', which is ironic because Keller did not honour his soldiers when he sent them off with faulty planes. This is another subtle reference back to Larry's past, and his fellow soldiers who died as a result of Keller's actions. Miller's use of dialogue for Keller- 'in my day', also creates a divide between the time before the play begins, and the time in the play. Keller's deluded memory of his generation contrasts to his behaviour and character. Miller uses the characters' actions to present memory. He does not directly show events, but narrates them or recalls them through the dialogue of the characters'. An example of this is the storm that knocks Larry's tree down. ...read more.


Miller's use of assumptions make the audience feel more involved, as they already know whom Keller is talking about. Furthermore, Miller presents the fact that past events and memories change the characters' outlook on their actions. Keller's character realises that his actions were selfish and unforgivable, after he tells his memory of the war to Chris; Chris says that Keller is 'not even an animal, no animal kills his own'. As the whole truth unfolds, the audience realise the true personalities of the characters, and all the previous tension and suspense makes sense- " I was dying everyday and you were killing my boys and you did it for me?" Miller integrates his moral that justice catches up with offenders eventually with the use of structured memories that are all arranged chronologically. How does Miller present the theme of memory in the play? Sarah fretwell ...read more.

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