Discuss how Arthur Miller makes this moment in his play All My Boys so dramatic.
Refer to Extract 6 for passage
In his play All My Sons, Arthur Miller makes the moment of George Deever’s arrival extremely significant through the sense that a crisis looms for the Kellers and is then narrowly avoided. Hostility is minimized to calm and jolly equanimity through Kate Keller’s maternal dominance and controlling nature, and this in turn ensures that the danger presented by George is negated.
Initially, the interactions between Chris and George are adversarial as Chris repudiates the reality George asserts. Kate Keller resists Chris too, though in a really various way, which is ultimately successful in nullifying George and the risk he represents to the false reality of Joe Keller’s innocence.
The preliminary interactions in this passage create a hostile environment that arises from the clash between George Deever and Chris Keller. George has arrived to firmly insist that Ann does not wed Chris since Joe’s guilt, or, more particularly, Joe’s dishonesty about his guilt, resulted in their daddy’s imprisonment and the destruction of their family.
Chris insists that George “won’t state anything now.” He means to marry Ann and, more importantly, has methodically suppressed any doubts about his daddy’s innocence. Miller has George speak past him to Ann, “you’re coming with me,” he states, and again, “you’re including me.” This repetition in his discussion conveys his perseverance and suggests that he’s unlikely to desist. His challenge to Chris becomes part of a bigger difficulty to the incorrect truth in which the Keller’s have been living, a truth in which Joe is innocent. Kate has actually secured this truth for several years and earnings to do so once again now.
When Kate Keller enters she immediately adopts a tone of maternal care and issue toward George. “Rais [ing] both hands” she “comes … towards him” saying “Georgie, Georgie.” This diminutive calls into the present George’s past, his childhood and the delighted associations he would have attached to Kate Keller throughout that time. Miller’s phase instructions explain how she “cups his face,” a gesture suggestive of the love and intimacy in between a mother and young son. She says that he has ended up being “grey” which “he looks like a ghost.”
This discussion paints a vivid picture of George as a gaunt and almost lifeless figure deserving of pity and perhaps plays on any feelings of self-pity he may have. She declares that she will “make [him] a sandwich,” and firmly insists that he is “going to sit here and consume some juice.” Her theatrical and practically hyperbolic efficiency is one that seeks to stress her issue for George’s well-being and the motherly desire to nurture him and see him in great health. George is not really her child, instead he comes from the now fractured and dysfunctional Deever household. There’s a genuine sense that Kate is using this. She works to establish the nature of her interaction with George as undoubtedly maternal, and therefore implicitly encourages him to adopt the corresponding function of dependant and grateful child.
Furthermore, Kate works to displace both George’s mom and Ann as the female figure to whom George owes one of the most loyalty and consequently develops her own supremacy and control. “What’s the matter with your mother,” she asks, “why don’t she feed you?” This concern weakens George’s mother as a capable maternal company. Next, Miller has her takes objective at Ann, advising her for stating that George was “fine” given that he so demonstrably is not.
Just as George’s mom allegedly stops working to nurture him, Kate points out a similar stopping working in Ann when she notifications Ann hasn’t given George grape juice. Ann says “defensively” that she “provided it to him.” The phase direction that describes her tone as “protective” makes it clear that she feels as though she is under attack. And certainly she is. Kate’s reply is stated “scoffingly,” revealing that she is ridiculing Ann for her obviously inept efforts to adequately look after her bro. By undermining both George’s mom and sis, Kate implicitly uses herself as the female figure on whom George can actually depend.
Ultimately, Kate is successful and Chris accepts her absolutely. Hostility dissolves into amiability and love. Miller makes it clear from the beginning that George “constantly liked” Kate. This stage direction reveals a vulnerability he has in regard to her. In the beginning he is gently dismissive of her, stating “I understand” and “I feel all right.” This discussion suggests he isn’t buying into her efficiency, or at least not in the beginning. Ultimately, nevertheless, he states “Kate, I feel hungry currently.” This line signals an important shift. It is so obviously stated with love and excellent humour. Plainly, the thought of doing anything to injure Kate might not be even more from his mind. Additionally, it shows that he has actually embraced the role into which she has actually been cajoling him; that is, the dependent and acquiescent son.
Throughout this passage Kate is highly manipulative. She is inspired by an instinct to safeguard the incorrect reality she and Joe perpetuate and on which she depends if she is to see her hubby as anything but a monster who killed their son, Larry. Her success depends upon stopping George and the unpredictability of this is what develops the angst-ridden drama at this minute in the play. Ultimately, of course, her success is just temporary.