Broken on Larry’s birthday Fell in its’ prime like Larry (‘fruit still clinging to its branches’) Foreshadows/symbolises the collapse of Joe’s lie Shows that Kate needs proof that Larry is still alive. She has no physical evidence so she turns to spiritual evidence. Sets off chain of events – catalyst that drives plot forwards. Larry’s girl – accepting his death, Kate can’t as she knows truth but Joe is so convinced by his own lie that he supports them. Joe’s encouragement builds even more respect from Chris. Tension builder Promotes message – ‘man for men’ and highlights differences between Joe and Chris’ ideals. Counters Joe’s lie Introduces different side of story Makes Joe nervous Past converging on present Initial doubt introduced in audience’s mind as to why Kate is so worried Look at the stage directions in this exchange between Joe, Kate and Ann from Act One, p30. Mother: What your father did had nothing to do with Larry. Nothing. Ann: But we can’t know that. Mother (striving for control): As long as you’re here! Ann (perplexed): But Kate – Mother: Put that out of your head! Keller: Because – Mother (quickly to Keller): That’s all, that’s enough. (places her hand on her head.) Come inside now, and have some tea with me. (She turns and goes up steps.) Keller (to Ann): The one thing you – Mother (sharply): He’s not dead, so there’s no argument! Now come! 1.What do the stage directions here reveal about Kate’s: - relationship with Joe? - attitude towards Ann? 2. How does the punctuation deployed by Miller, enhance what is revealed about Kate through the stage directions? Key Questions – Act 1 1. (p.25-26) Why does Kate have to believe that Larry is still alive? What difficulty does this present for Ann? Kate is portrayed first and foremost as a devoted mother. Her character is concerned about keeping her family together and the belief alive that her missing son will return safe. Her maternal instinct tells her that her son must be alright because ‘Because he has to be’. However, her desperation in clinging to this hope (see stage direction [goes to her]) and the repetition of the same phrases ‘Because some things have to be.’ reveal that there may be a deeper meaning underlying Kate’s belief. Secondly, Ann’s father is in jail for ultimately killing 21 pilots. If Kate accepted that Larry was dead it would be admitting that her husband’s business killed men like her son. Thirdly, Kate’s desperation is so great that when we connect it to further clues in this Act i.e. “be smart Joe”, we begin to see that all is not rosy in this family. Therefore Kate is characterized as MOTHER, WIFE, WOMAN – maternal, emotional, protective, intuitive. She makes Ann’s wish to marry Chris very difficult as she does not and will never approve of them being together as she cannot accept that Larry is dead. 2. (bottom of p27 to top of p29 ‘MOTHER’) How does Miller, through the MOTHER’S dialogue, reveal that Joe has something to hide? The fact that Kate points out to Ann that Joe has lied is extremely significant. She is portraying her husband, not as the hero and respectable man that we’ve been introduced to but as a liar. ‘Except that they didn’t get it confused.’ This shows that Joe is trying to hide to the children that he was arrested and taken to court. He has deliberately manipulated the children’s belief in making himself appear to be a hero. ‘How could they move back?’ shows that the relationship between Ann’s father and Joe is not what it would first appear to be. In the trial Ann’s father tried to blame Joe and may not be as forgiving as Joe has been that Joe didn’t face the same punishment. Kate doesn’t believe they could ever be friends again. If Joe were really innocent would he honestly forgive the man who tried to blame him? Further, it also shows that even though the neighbours come round and play cards and socialise with the Kellers, the situation and accusations have not actually been forgotten. 3. (p32-33)Chris and Anne are trying to move on from Larry’s disappearance but something is holding them back. What? 4. (p34) How do Chris’ ideals compare or contrast with Joe’s? 5. (p38) How does Miller create tension and doubt in the audience’s mind at the end of Act I. Joe’s character development Dramatic Devices Theme – profit from war, responsibility Keller is not presented as a villain but as an ordinary man caught up in a bad situation and who makes a choice according to his own values. He calls Steve a ‘little man’ but we find out that this ‘hero’ is actually just like the ‘little man’ he describes. He does not understand the wider impact one man can have. He is representative of an older generation who did not have access to Higher education, whose entire world centered around his family. He is blind to his own ‘greed’(?) preferring to think of himself as a man among men, minding his own business (literally and figuratively). That is the true flaw in Keller's character. Joe still plays the victim after Kate’s slip up, giving excuse after excuse but these do not fool anyone and lead to Chris losing respect for his father which also leads to the audience doing the same. Props: Grapefruit juice – symbolises a happier time for both the Kellers and the Deevers. It is used as a deliberate method of manipulation, by Kate, to calm and soothe George and to protect her family. Dialogue Dialogue changes from long explanatory speeches where Keller is giving excuses to short staccato dialogue and questions during the climax where Chris is questioning father. This builds tension in the audience and leads to the climax where Chris is in inner turmoil as to what he needs to do. Stage Directions "their movements now are those of subtle pursuit and escape." Stage directions show Chris trying to pin his father down to precise facts and admission of guilt. Chris is hunting not only the truth but is struggling to come to terms with the complete obliteration of the image he held of his father as ‘Joe McGuts’ or ‘better than the rest’. Profit from war: Keller argues that no one "worked for nothin' in that war," insisting that if he has to go to jail, then "half the Goddam country" is similarly culpable. Is this an indictment of capitalism or of the wartime mentality? Does he believe this argument, or is it mainly another attempt to deflect blame? Relatedness: Keller is able to deny responsibility for his crimes because he believes in the family as the nucleus of his world. His inability to see his relatedness to the rest of society and to his fellow man is his central flaw. This flaw leads to both public (the deaths of the pilots) and private tragedy (Larry and Joe’s suicides.) Look at the stage directions and sentence structure in this plea from Joe to Chris on page 67. Keller ( - their movements now are those of subtle pursuit and escape. Keller keeps a step out of Chris’s range as he talks.): You’re a boy, what could I do! I’m in business, a man is in business: a hundred and twenty cracked, you’re out of business: you got a process, the process don’t work you’re out of business; you don’t know how to operate, your stuff is no good; they close you up, they tear up your contracts, what the hell’s it to them? You lay forty years into a business and they knock you out in five minutes, what could I do, let them take forty years, let them take my life away? (His voice cracking) I never thought they’d install them. I swear to God. I thought they’d stop ‘em before anybody took off. 1. How do the stage directions reveal a change in Chris and Joe’s relationship? 2. How does the dialogue (in particular the sentence structure) reveal development or a change in Joe’s character? How does this affect the audience’s view of Keller? Key Questions – Act 2 What effect does George’s arrival have on the audience in terms of building tension? PLOT What effect do Sue’s comments about Chris have on Anne? And on the audience? Can someone really be ‘too good’? CHARACTER (CHRIS) What reason does George give for having believed his father’s guilt and how does this build on the characterisation of Chris from the first Act? CHARACTER (CHRIS) With close reference to the dialogue and stage directions, as well as your own explanation, describe how Kate initially quells George’s temper and then causes the tension to increase dramatically shortly afterwards. DRAMATIC DEVICES (Stage Directions) & CHARACTER (KATE) Comment on Kate’s line: “He hasn’t been laid up in twenty years…”. How does this act as a turning point in the play? PLOT Denoument Comparison between business and war Climax Resolution of conflict(s) Kate shows no real shock, unlike Chris. Forces Kate to face up to her own selfdeception. Forces Joe to see that Larry would not have supported him. The admission that the pilots were "all my sons" is, for Keller, an admission that he might as well have killed his own child. Keller argues that his actions during the war were defensible as requirements of good business practice. Wartime profiteering was common. Many people were involved in ‘black market’ trading of rationed goods. But, Chris argues that the money/profit made from war is ‘dirty’ and that by accepting it he dishonours the men who died. He cannot compromise these beliefs, even for his father, which leads to the climax. As a result of this and seeing what Chris (and Larry) think of him, Joe kills himself. Joe saw nothing wrong in making money from war/death because thousands of others did too. ‘The whole damn country’s gotta go if I go’. Joe sees though that Chris is a man of principles that he will not compromise. As a result of this and seeing what Chris (and Larry) think of him, Joe kills himself. He becomes the ‘tragic hero’ as he finally accepts responsibility for his actions. Chris’ divided loyalties are finally resolved: he chooses to be loyal to his men and society rather than his father. Kate no longer has to hide her husband’s secret and can now fully support Chris. She tells him to ‘live’. Look closely at the following dialogue between Jim Bayliss and Kate. MOTHER: I always had the feeling that in the back of his head, Chris...almost knew. I didn’t think it would be such a shock. JIM (gets up): Chris would never know how to live with a thing like that. It takes a certain talent – for lying. You have it, and I do. But not him. MOTHER: What do you mean...? He’s not coming back? JIM: Oh, no, he’ll come back, Kate. These private little revolutions always die. The compromise is always made. In a peculiar way, Frank is right – every man does have a star. The star of one’s honesty. And you spend your life groping for it, but once it’s out it never lights again. I don’t think he went very far. He probably just wanted to be alone to watch his star go out. 1. In what way does Jim, a seemingly insignificant character, take on an important role here? 2. How effective is Miller’s use of the reference to stars in this piece of dialogue? Key Questions – Act 3 Comment on the change in Joe’s character with his line: “I guess to him they were all my sons.” (CHARACTER) To what extent was Joe’s fate unavoidable? (PLOT) With which character do you sympathise most: Joe, Kate or Chris? (CHARACTER) If the central theme of the play is the profit made from war, what is the playwright’s message through Joe’s suicide and his family’s reaction to it? (THEME) As a contemporary reader, how relevant did you find the themes of the play? Refer to the article in your booklet entitled ‘A play for Obama’s America.’ You should treat this question as a mini essay and write at least three paragraphs in your answer, referring to both the play and the article as well as including your own opinions.