All My Sons, Larry’s Importance Essay, Research Paper
Never Seen But Still Important, How?
We never meet the man yet he still plays an integral role in the plot. How can this be? This concept is exactly what happens in the play All My Sons as pertains to the role of Larry. Although Larry never actually appears in the play, he affects the plot and the characters, specifically Kate, in key ways. Arthur Miller does this by revolving the conflicts, and their closures around Larry’s character.
Let us start with the marriage of Chris and Ann and the problems surrounding it. Chris and Ann want to get married, but are worried about how it will affect Kate due to her belief that Larry is still alive. Kate believes that Ann therefore, should remain faithful to him. We see Kate’s belief in her lines (emotionally) “You think of him! You see? (Triumphantly.) She thinks of him” (pg. 23). This shows that Kate wants Ann to think of Larry, waiting for him to return and that marriage to another man, especially Larry’s brother, is unacceptable.
Next, we must consider the issue of trust between Chris and his father concerning whether Joe is responsible for the pilots crashing and indirectly, the death of Larry. Chris believes that if Joe is responsible he therefore belongs in jail. When Joe hears Larry’s suicide letter, he reacts by saying: “Sure, he was my son. But I think to him they were all my sons. And I guess they were” (pg. 79). This shows us that it was Larry’s letter that caused Joe’s suicide, and lead to Chris’ certainty that Joe was guilty.
Finally, Larry does affect Kate’s character. Kate is obsessed with her unfounded belief that Larry is alive. She is the only character in the book that believes this and therefore goes to many extremes such as getting Larry’s horoscopes and keeping his room exactly the way he left it with his clothes hung up and shoes shone, in the belief that he will return. Ann’s lines “Well, it never occurred to me that you’d – I mean the shoes are all shined” (pg.24), show that Kate’s belief that Larry is coming back is so strong that it is nearing the point of psychosis. We therefore see that Larry has had a profound effect on Kate.
In conclusion, Larry’s character is clearly an integral part to the plot of All My Sons. Larry’s character is not one that we see, yet we still feel we know because of the way he has affected
each of the characters’ actions. In fact, Larry is so important to the plot of the play, that it could not exist without him.