All my Sons – activity

All my Sons- Olivia Obligado, Juana Zufriategui and Luz Esteban

1)What do keller and Chris talk about? Do they have similar or contrasting views on the matter? Explain and quote.
2)Choose 3 important quotations from the conversation they have and explain them.
3)Find 2 examples of irony and explain them
4) Mention 2 other literary devices and comment on their impact on the readers.

  1.  Keller and Chris are discussing about Larry, who has been missing for 3 years. They also talk about Mother and how she is still hopeful about his return. However, they do not support this , as they believe Larry might be dead; “CHRIS: For God’s sake, three years! Nobody comes back after three years. It’s insane”. Nevertheless, they sympathize with Mother’s hope of Larry coming back and decide not to upset her.   
  • They definitely have contrasting views on the matter concerning Annie. Chris wants to propose marriage to her but Keller disagrees; “I don’t see why it has to be Annie…”, supporting that she was in a relationship with Larry. Chris marrying her means that Larry will never come back, which is a harsh truth they are not willing to face, specially Mother. 

2. Chris: “Being dishonest with her.  That kind of thing always pays off, and now it’s paying  off.”

Keller: “What do you mean, dishonest?”

Chris: “You know Larry’s not coming back and I know it.  Why do we allow her to go on thinking that we believe with her?” 

  •   We believe that this conversation is important since it shows in part the vision of these characters regarding the thoughts of the mother who, clearly, did not overcome the death of her son. You can see how everyone shows themselves in front of her, but at the same time they have a totally different thought, which makes them “dishonest”

Chris: “For God’s sake, three years!  Nobody comes back after three years. It’s insane.”

Keller: “To you it is, and to me.  But not to her. You can talk yourself blue in the face, but there’s no body and no grave, so where are you?” 

  • We also believe that this text is very important since it shows the readers the lack of hope that the characters have about Larry’s life, shows how sure they are that he has already died. However, in turn, we can see her mother’s wish and hope that he is alive, since they clarify that for her it is not strange that she has not returned in those three years.

Keller: “The trouble is the Goddam newspapers.  Every month some boy turns up from nowhere, so the next one is going to be Larry, so…”

  • Finally, we believe that this text is extremely important since it shows a facet of Keller that we have not seen before. It shows a more vulnerable side, a side that does hope that Larry will return and a side that has not yet fully accepted his departure.

3) Irony

  • “You are always reading the book section and you never buy a book”.  

We can see irony through this quotation as Keller is being ironic towards chris as although he is always reading the book section, he never bought a book to read. In most of the cases when you read the book section, you find one to buy and read but this was not chris’s case so that is why Keller is being ironic.

  • “ in the beginning when I first made you a police man you used to come in every morning with something new. Now, nothing’s ever new.”

Through this quote, we can find irony as keller is telling Bert In an ironic way how it could be possible to come with something new every day when you first started “working” as he is eight and now there is nothing. He is being ironic towards Bert as he is only a kid not a real policeman.

4) Literary devices


One example of foreshadowing is Joe’s game with Bert. Joe made Bert and Tommy local policemen who patrol the block and report suspicious things to Joe. He told Bert there was a jail in the basement of his house and showed him his “arresting gun”. In return, Bert reported some disturbances to Joe and he promised to promote Bert to a detective. All the elements of this game: the jail, the gun, and the issue of guilt will come up in the further development of the plot.


“In the left corner, downstage, stands the four-foot-high stump of a slender apple tree whose upper trunk and branches lie toppled beside it, fruit still clinging to its branches.”

The apple tree was planted two years ago after Larry’s “death” to honor his memory. The symbolism of the tree is to show that Larry is dead. However, Kate claims that the tree shouldn’t have been planted in the first place because Larry may still return home. She has the feeling that Larry is still alive.