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In All My Sons, the author uses the letter to allow a dead character, Larry to enter the play. Even though, Larry has a non-speaking role, the impact that his character has on the rest of the characters and the reader is great and shocking.

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Introduction

The common theatrical device of "the letter" provides a way for Larry to personally enter the play after his death. What else make the letter work well in this particular play? Consider, for instance, Miller's careful manipulation of information throughout the play. In All My Sons, the author uses the letter to allow a dead character, Larry to enter the play. Even though, Larry has a non-speaking role, the impact that his character has on the rest of the characters and the reader is great and shocking. The author uses the letter as the answers to all the mystery that is going on in the play allowing a carefully orchestrated dramatic climax at the end of the play. Miller also allows probing insights into human nature; the story engages social conscience when the character Joe Keller is forced to accept individual social responsibility. "The letter" allows an insight into Larry's thoughts and feelings. Even though Larry is dead it gives the audience his perception on things and it reveals the truth about everything. ...read more.

Middle

In the letter he told her that he had read of his father's arrest and that he was planning suicide. Since then, Ann told no one about that letter until she reveals the truth at the end of the play. This is when the climax of the play is reached. Throughout the whole play, Miller carefully keeps everything about Joe Keller's business and Larry's existence a mystery. For example, he used the character Kate, to convince the readers that Larry might still be alive. Kate convinces herself that Larry is still alive as for her to believe that Larry is dead would be to believe his death was a punishment of Joe's crime. This shows that she is also trying to accept Joe's crime and is having a tough time doing so as even after three years, she still has not. "Because if he is not coming back, then I'll kill myself" Pg 20 This quote from Kate shows us how strongly she is in denial of Larry's death, which at the point the audience does not know about. ...read more.

Conclusion

You're out of business" Pg 67 At first Joe deflected blame by blaming the army, business practice and that he wanted the best for his family. Miller uses this very human impulse is used to great effect to demonstrate the true relationships and power plays between characters as they try to maintain self-respect as well as personal and family honor. The audience would not feel much sympathy for Joe as he has been blaming everything around him for the past three and a half years except himself. Only now, after so long when the truth is revealed he finally accepts. However, even after that he still is not able to live with the shame and kills himself eventually. In conclusion, Miller uses "the letter" mostly to bring back the past. Miller shows how these past secrets have affected those who have kept them. The truth that "the letter" reveals is unavoidable. No matter what, they were going to come out at some point and it is through Miller's manipulation of the information throughout the whole play that the truths are all revealed on the same day. While the truth that is revealed is unavoidable, so are their fatal consequences. ...read more.

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