All My Sons Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 63 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of All My Sons.
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American Dream

In a sense, All My Sons is a critical investigation of the quest to achieve material comfort and an improved social status through hard work and determination. In the Horatio Alger myth, even a disadvantaged, impoverished young man can attain wealth and prestige through personal fortitude, moral integrity, and untiring industry. Joe Keller is that sort of self-made man, one who made his way from blue-collar worker to factory owner. However, Joe sacrifices his integrity to materialism, and he makes a reprehensible decision that sends American pilots to their deaths, something he is finally forced to face.

Atonement and Forgiveness

Paradoxically, Joe Keller's suicide at the end of All My Sons is both an act of atonement and an escape from guilt. It stems from Joe's realization that there can be no real forgiveness for what he had done. The alternative is confession and imprisonment. Death offers...

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This section contains 847 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the All My Sons Study Guide
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Drama for Students
All My Sons from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.