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All My Sons
The quotation “We are the cause of our own obstacles,” by Meister Eckhart is very representative of how life is. The quotation means that the problems in one’s life are caused by that person’s actions. I partially belief this statement because I belief that yes, your actions affect you, they also affect other people as well, causing problems for them that they did not bring on themselves.
If I decide to put a coin on a railroad track, when the train comes it will derail. Sure I may go to jail for my actions which shows that I brought the trouble to myself, but it also affects the people who were on the train. It was not their fault that I put the coin on the track and because of me, I possibly killed or hurt many people. In this example, I have caused some minor obstacles for myself, but have caused monumental obstacles for the people riding the train and also their family and relatives.
Arthur Miller illustrates this interpretation of the quotation in All My Sons. In this play, Joe Keller ships some cracked cylinder heads during the war and they are placed in some planes. The planes crash and kill twenty-one men. Joe Keller does go to jail for a little but he is set free because he was not at the shop when the heads were shipped. Instead he had his partner, Steve Deever, send the cylinder heads and Joe stayed home to maintain an alibi. Steve, however, is punished much more severely. He was charged with the crime and was sent to prison because he was the actual one who gave the order. This shows how Joe Keller\'s actions didn’t really effect him much. It affected all the ones who were killed and their families. It also affected Steve Deever and his family.
In the process of punishing others with his actions, Joe also affected his son Larry. Larry couldn’t belief what his father had done. To punish his father and make him see what he had done wrong, Larry kills himself. This action shows Joe the error in what he did. He finally realizes that there is more in life than family and money. He realizes that his actions killed his son and many other people’s sons. Therefore Joe sees that his responsibility to his country and society makes all the boys that died all his sons. “ Sure, he was my son. But I think to him they were all my sons.” After realizing the damage he has caused Joe cannot deal with his tremendous guilt. He commits suicide, once again not dealing with the problem but causing problems for other people as Joe’s family must now cope with the death of Larry and Joe.
In this play Arthur Miller uses several literary elements to present the story. He provides the basic theme that there are things bigger than family. He uses extreme cases of irony to prove this. When Joe says, “ If Larry was alive he wouldn’t act like this. He understood the way the world is made. He listened to me. To him the world had a forty-foot front, it ended at the building line.” This is ironic because Larry doesn’t understand Joe’s actions. He instead sacrifices himself to show Joe the error in his ways. It’s also very ironic when Joe says, “ That’s the only way you lick ‘em is guts!” because Joe has no guts. Even in the way he dies he does not have the guts to do the right thing. The author also uses foreshadowing as a preamble of what is gonna happen. “There’s nothin’ he could do that I wouldn’t forgive. Because he’s my son. Because I’m his father and he’s my son…Nothin’s bigger than that. And you’re goin’ to tell him, you understand? I’m his father and he’s my son, and if there’s something bigger than that I’ll put a bullet in my head!”
In conclusion, All My Sons is the perfect illustration of my opinion that one’s actions affect everyone including yourself. This work installs the view that one’s actions influence more than one person and that one’s responsibility to society requires that
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All My Sons, Films
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