Sandeep Kutty English Coursework
Mr. Arthur Miller
17th Storey of Heath Tower
23rd March 2002
Dear Mr Smith,
I am writing to you with reference to your proposed production of my play ‘All My Sons’. I, like most authors, have standards and expectations for productions of my writing, which is why I have decided to write to you and inform you of some criteria that might help you in the production of ‘All My Sons’.
In the 1920’s after the First World War, many countries were bankrupt because of the amount of money they had invested into the war. The USA came to their rescue by loaning them vast amounts of money to pay off debts. In 1929, share prices fell and so the USA called back for the loans that they had lent but the countries were still in debt. Many Americans tried to take their money out of the banks but the banks hadn’t any money to give to customers. This contributed to the Great Depression, which made a massive increase in unemployment. One of the people who became unemployed was my father, a coat manufacturer. This was the initial inspiration of writing ‘All My Sons’.
Another reason that inspired me to write ‘All My Sons’, was the way that events during the Second World War were making Americans live and treat each other differently. I experienced the wave of patriotism and I also saw how fellow Americans were exploiting the war and making profit from other’s suffering. By writing this play, I felt that citizens of the world would finally be able to see an image of the real American Middle Class character, reflecting their self-interest.
In ‘All My Sons’, Keller talks about “little men” when describing Steve Deever. This is ironic because Keller himself is a little man. “Little men” are people that always compete with each other so that they would be better than the next person, they don’t really think about what they are doing as long as they are successful. When something bad happens, the “little men” don’t have the courage to own up to the big men. “Little men” are a problem in today’s society, as they don’t care to have responsibility over their actions even when the problems could be sorted out simply (Keller could have told Steve not to give the parts to the army and then death wouldn’t be the result.
The audience can now see Keller in two different ways. To some people Keller may seem selfish and irresponsible and too others Keller may be loving and hard working. Keller’s two sides are all at the expense of other people and cause their suffering such as Steve and the airman. I want the audience to realise that peoples “little men” attitudes have far greater implications for society. Their world, understanding and conscience must go beyond their garden fences.
I believe that everyone has a responsibility to society, so that everyone, not just themselves, can live a better life. Families are important but they are part of society as well. They use public hospitals, public buses and walk down public streets. Think about it in this way, Keller led twenty-one men to their deaths. Twenty-one people who wouldn’t be able to fight for Americans anymore and there would be more chance of peoples lives, maybe Keller’s family being endangered. Isn’t it a man’s responsibility, to protect society for his family’s sake?
Joe Keller is a sixty-one year old man who believes strongly that his family is the most important thing in his life. His education wasn’t very good and he isn’t very smart but he has worked hard and has become a successful business owner, which isn’t easy. Joe is not a bad man. He loves his family but does not see the universal human "family" which has a higher claim on his duty. He may think he has got away with his crime, but is troubled by the thought of it. He relies on his wife, Kate, not to betray his guilt. The reason that he let the defective parts go was so that he could leave an inheritance for Chris. This shows how much he loves his family, he is willing to lie and let the punishment fall on someone else. As I started to write the play, I made Keller a likeable person to let the audience engage with him. I didn’t want the audience to realize to early that Keller’s life is not as straightforward as it may seem because I thought it would take away the tension of the important scene where everybody finds out that Keller was to blame. It is important for the audience to connect with Keller strongly so that when they realize it was Keller’s fault that airmen died, they will see him in a selfish way and difficult feelings will arouse because the audience feel guilty that they liked him.