Explain the following quotes: Who said it, to whom, when and what is the message it wants to convey.
“I would love to help humanity on a Warner Brothers’ salary.” Act I, p. 12)
Dr. Jim said that to Frank in Keller’s backyard, when Frank told Dr. Jim that he had seen a film about a doctor who worked in his basement discovering things. He told Dr. Jim that he ought to do that. Dr. Jim replied that he was ready to serve humanity but he should be given a salary as big as that of Warner Brothers give to actors. Here he is mocking Frank showing that his need for money is more important than his desire to help humanity. We may infer that Dr. Jim works as a doctor because he need the money.
“Well, that’s what a war does. I had two sons, now I got one” (Act I, p. 15)
Joe Keller said that to Lydia while they were talking about the fact that Ann hasn’t got married yet though Lydia is married and had three kids. Keller replies that this was what the war did to them, as he had lost one son in the war, Larry who was reported missing, who was supposed to marry Ann. (cause – effect).
“No more roses. It’s so funny…everything decides to happen at the same time” (Act I, p. 24)
Mother said this to Chris and Keller in the backyard of the house. She believes that every thing related to Larry has happened at the same time; just to show that he is coming. This month is Larry’s birthday, his tree is blown down, Ann comes, she stumbles over his baseball glove which she hasn’t seen for years. Although she feels sad about the snapping of the tree, she never gives up hope that Larry is still alive and that he will be back one day.
“She knows what I know…..” (Act I, p. 28)
Kate said these words to Keller in the back yard of the Keller’s garden when Keller supposed that Ann might not be waiting for Larry. Keller was trying to help Chris marry Ann, the idea which would never be accepted by Kate. Kate infers that Ann is waiting for Larry because she is still single. That shows how Kate is unrealistic.
“There’s no jail here. I want you to stop this jail business… .” (Act I, p. 29)
Kate said these words to Joe Keller in the backyard of the Keller’s garden when Joe was practicing the jail game with Bert. Kate was furious to find Joe playing such a suspicious game with kids. She hated to hear the word “jail” which Joe Keller was involved in. Her sudden anger about that game reflects her worry about jail, the matter which lets us be suspicious about Joe and Kate; moreover, it reflects their feeling of guilt and fear to be uncovered. That’s why she asked Joe to stop the whole jail game and told Bert that there was no jail in their house.
“I didn’t want to take any of it. And I guess it included you.” (Act I, p. 45)
Chris said that to Ann in the backyard of the Keller’s garden when he was telling his experience in war and express his feelings towards his father’s money. Chris thinks that his father’s money is “loot” ; it has blood on it because it was gained during the war. Chris felt ashamed of his father’s money and didn’t want to take any of it. This highlights Chris’s idealistic Character, as he really differentiates between people who sacrifice in war and those who are only doing business, even if it was his father.
"The man was a fool, but don’t make a murderer out of him..” (Act I, p. 40)
Joe Keller said that to Chris when Chris declared his belief about Steve as a murderer; the one who killed 21 pilots. Joe tried hard to defend Steve and justify his crime saying that Steve was a fool and had a weak character. He was always scared of loud voices. During the war, the major was calling them over the telephone every half an hour asking for cylinder heads, and all of a sudden, that day’s production of cylinder heads was cracked. Steve also was afraid of Joe Keller as if he got rid of those cracked cylinder heads, it would be a great loss to the business. Moreover, Keller said that Steve was sure 100% that the planes would hold up. He covered the cracks himself and sent them, but he meant no harm.
Joe was trying to correct Chris’s idea about Steve least in the future he might be discovered to be the real criminal, so Chris would take him as a fool, not a murderer. It’s considered a sort of self-defense.
“All right Joe… just… be smart.” (Act I p. 50)
Kate said these words to Joe Keller as closing lines to act one. Kate was drawing Joe’s attention to the danger that might take place because of George’s return. Joe was evading her warning against George, though she mentioned some strong reasons why they should fear him. George is a lawyer and can handle matters more efficiently, moreover; all of a sudden he visits his father in jail after three years and takes an airplane to go to Columbus, then decides directly to go back to the Kellers. They suspected that he had discovered something important about the case, Kate was afraid that George might open the old case again. She told Joe to act smartly with George, the matter which reflects their certain feeling of guilt.
“He’s driving my husband crazy with that phony idealism of him…” (Act II, p. 61)
Sue said these words to Ann in the backyard of the Keller’s garden when Sue asked Ann to do her a favor that is to take Chris and live away when they get married, because Chris has a bad influence on her husband, Jim. Chris is driving him crazy with his idealism. Chris makes Jim feel he’s always compromising his principals and always feel guilty. Sue believes that Chris’s idealism is false and only a pretence (phony idealism). Chris practices this idealism because he is rich as he has all his father’s money of which he can take as much as he needed, but Jim isn’t so rich, moreover he has a family to support. Sue also added Chris wanted all people to be ideal while he himself belonged to a family, which was suspected. Sue tells Ann that the whole neighbourhood knew that Keller was the real reason for the death of 21 pilots but he got out of jail because of his cleverness.
“He’s a little man. That’s what happens to suckers….” (Act II, p. 70)
George said that to Ann after she asked him about their father in the backyard of the Kellers’ garden. Here he is blaming Ann and himself for turning their back to their father, not visiting him for so long and not even sending him a card at Christmas. He is explaining to her why Steve was in jail. It was because he was a little man; an unimportant man, but if he had been a big man like Joe Keller, he would have been free, but he was a sucker; easily deceived; now he is in prison. George threw remarks on Keller who was set free, despite being guilty, because he was a big man. However suckers like Steve often go to prison. He told Ann that their father’s health became so bad, and a year more in prison there would be nothing left of him but his smell. This shows how George feels guilty for acting so ungratefully to his father, and shows his certain belief that Joe Kellers is guilty.
“As long as I know him, twenty five years, the man never learned how to take the blame.” (Act II, p. 83)
Joe Keller said that to George in the backyard of the Kellers’ garden when George had remarked that Joe deceived his father, Steve, and hinted that he had totally ruined Steve’s soul. Joe Keller wanted to convince George that his father was a man who always blamed others for the mistakes he had made. Joe then mentioned two situations in which Steve didn’t accept to take the blame. First, when he left the heater burning for two days without water that the whole factory would blowup. Steve blamed it all on the mechanic that Joe had to fire in order to save his face. The second time was when he gave some money to Frank to invest in the oil stock. The stock went down and the money was lost. So Steve cursed Frank of being a swindler, though it wasn’t frank’s mistake. Joe Keller was trying to convince George that his father sent the cracked heads and wanted to throw the blame on Keller.
“Then let your father go.” (Act II, p. 88)
Chris had an argument with his mother and insisted to face her with the truth of Larry’s death and Keller supported him. The mother couldn’t believe and collapsed out of anger. When Chris faced her with the fact that they should forget Larry and that he would marry Ann, Kate told him that it was impossible “…Because if he is dead, your father killed him…..God doesn’t let a son be killed by his father.” Kate lost self-control and told him that Larry had to be alive because if he was dead, so his father killed him. Chris then had a stormed mined and kept pushing Keller to confess his crime.
“For me! Where do you live? Where have you come from? For me! … What must I do to you?” (Act II, p. 91)
Chris said that to Joe Keller in the backyard of the Keller’s garden expressing his outrageous feelings when he got sure that his father was the real criminal who caused the death of the 21 pilots. This was the climax of action in the play and the highest external conflict between. Chris could not believe that his ideal figure did such a crime and found his idealism put into test. He accused his father of not belonging to his country or rather to any human society. He accused him of being less than an animal, as no animal kills its own babies. Chris exclaimed what he should do to his father. He had to denounce him to the police, and show that he was really an idealist and honest. That was an external conflict between idealism represented in Chris and materialism represented in Joe Keller.
“It takes a certain talent for lying, you have it and I do. But not him.” (Act III, p.100)
Dr Jim said that to Kate after the argument between Chris and his father after Chris had learnt that his father was responsible for the death of the twenty one pilots and after he had left the house. Kate was shocked at the reaction of Chris to his father. She always had doubts that Chris knew the reality, but Jim tells that Chris as an idealist is different; he would never be silent if he knew, as he doesn’t know how to lie or be passive to mistakes so he told her, “It takes a certain talent for lying- You have it and I have it. But nothim.” As Chris would have certainly denounced his father if he knew. That’s why it was a shock to him.
1. Give an account of Kate’s dream. What does it reflect?
Mother tells them about a dream she has seen. She dreamed of Larry flying his plane, his face was so clear and real that she could touch him. He cried to her. Mom……….. Mom and then she woke up at the noise of the wind blowing down Larry’s tree. This dream reflects her occupied mind about Larry. It also reflects,
according to Kate, that Larry might be in danger, and the idea is reinforced by the snapping of his tree, and being in danger shatters away the belief that he had been dead, which has long been thought by Joe and Chris.
Explain how Keller faced the people after the trial? What was the result? What does this show about Joe’s character?
He advised Ann to face people as he did before and every thing would be alright, because the Deevers gave people the chance to keep talking about her father’s crime by leaving to New York. On the day of the trial, all the people thought that Joe Keller was a criminal, the beast who caused 21 P40s to crash in Australia. He was guilty as hell according to them that day, but he faced them all courageously with the court paper which announced his innocence. He kept settling in the town and faced them all. The result was that they stopped talking and Keller had a bigger factory than before, and he became a respected man again, bigger than ever.
What’s the dramatic effect of the closing lines of Act 1?
Act one closes with Keller and Kate brainstormed. Kate is very suspicious as to why George is hurrying to his father in Columbus. She draws Keller’s attention to the decisive danger that might take place, but Keller evades her questions and shows ignorance. It’s clear to us now that Kate knows something different about the case. It has long been a secret, but once George is crabbing for it, they should take certain precautions. Keller’s defence of Steve and Kate’s fears of George’s coming give us a strong belief that Keller has a secret, which will prove him guilty if revealed.
4. Why was Kate convinced that Larry hadn’t died ?
She was convinced that Larry hadn’t died because Frank told her that November 25th was Larry’s favourable day. She also used to read in the newspaper everyday that there were people who were reported missed and came back after more than three years, Kate was convinced that Ann hadn’t got married until now because she also was convinced that Larry hadn’t died.
5. . Ann considered her father criminal, but Keller considered him just a fool.” Explain.
Ann considers her father responsible for the death of her boy friend, Larry and the twenty-one pilots, Keller tries to comfort Ann by telling her that Larry has never flown a P40. Keller explained to Ann and Chris the story of the cracked cylinder heads during the war. Keller told them that Steve meant no harm, of course because he believed that the mechanics in the army would find out about the cracked heads and send them back to the shop. When Chris agrees with Ann and he considers Steve a murderer Keller tells him that the man was weak, but he shouldn’t make a murderer out of him.
6. What was Chris ashamed of?
During the war he was the head of a group of soldiers, all were brave men. They sacrificed themselves for each other. He felt ashamed to be the only survivor among them. He was the one who taught them idealism and how to sacrifice and still he is the only one living now. He couldn’t stand the idea of living happily with a family of his own.
7. What excuse did Keller give for his crime?
Keller tried to find himself excuses for his crime saying that if he had refused to send the cylinder heads to the army, he would be out of business as the army would tear the contract which meant that he would lose all he had been building for years. Keller said that he was too old to have another chance to start business again. He also gave another excuse saying that he thought that the mechanics would discover the cracks before fitting them into the planes, and that they would send them back when he would have enough time to make other good ones instead. He said that he did that all for Chris and Kate, the matter which wasn’t accepted at all by Chris as he found all that not an excuse to commit such a crime of causing the death of the twenty one pilots.