All My Sons

Off-Stage but Ever-Present: Larry in All My Sons 10th Grade

In Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, Larry is the youngest member of the Keller family who passed away in World War II. Although he does not appear on stage for the duration of the play, he is still considered to be one of the most important roles. His disappearance haunts his family through his mother’s superstitious belief in his return, as well as through his brother’s sudden claim on his childhood sweetheart. Larry is presented in the play, through the symbol of the tree, which highlights the way his presence permeates the surroundings. The destruction of the memorial provides the family with a talking point, and reignites his presence to the family and community around him.

Built as a means of commemorating Larry, who did not survive World War II, the tree ties in significantly to Larry’s character. Additionally, the fallen tree sits in the middle of the backyard, as a symbol of the presence of Larry in the middle of the play. Kate is relieved when lightning strikes it down, thinking that this is a sign that Larry is coming back home. The tree foreshadows the destruction of Larry’s life, which we start to understand towards the end of the play. The tree just so happens to fall down on Larry’s birthday month, causing Kate to...

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