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The American Dream Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. Seven Deadly Sins: Wealth without work Pleasure without conscience Science without humanity Knowledge.

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Presentation on theme: "The American Dream Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. Seven Deadly Sins: Wealth without work Pleasure without conscience Science without humanity Knowledge."— Presentation transcript:

1 The American Dream Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

2 Seven Deadly Sins: Wealth without work Pleasure without conscience Science without humanity Knowledge without character Politics without principle Commerce without morality Worship without sacrifice.” Mahatma Gandhi

3 The social, economical and educational equal rights for all citizens’. The previous line summarizes the definition people give of what they understand as the American Dream. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the American Dream corresponds to ‘the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved’. Many people in the United States of America, where the term was invented during the 30’s, are looking after the American Dream. It has become the aspiration of many, even to people from other countries. Nowadays, the term is as inspirational as controversial, since the opportunities become harder to get day by day. The truth is that, even though the American Dream is harder to achieve, it encourages people to achieve what they want. As some may see it, the problem is not the American Dream itself but the way in which each person achieves it. Sometimes people forget their values and principles while pursuing their dream and that is the problem. And this is exactly what happens with Joe Keller, one of the main characters in Arthur Miller’s play ‘All my Sons’. Keller proves throughout the play how perverted a man can become when his ambitions are more important than his morality and values.

4 At the beginning of the play, Miller’s starts describing the house in which the Keller’s live. The author gives some important details in order to show the reader that the Keller’s are actually living the American Dream. In the first two paragraphs, the readers are able to know things such as...

5 Miller points out the flaw with a merely economic interpretation of the American Dream as business success alone. Keller sacrifices other parts of the American Dream for simple economic success. Has he given up part of his basic human decency (consider the pilots) and a successful family life-- does he sacrifice Steve or Larry? Miller suggests the flaws of a capitalist who has no grounding in cultural or social morals. While Keller accepted the idea that a good businessman like himself should patch over the flawed shipment, Miller critiques a system that would encourage profit and greed at the expense of human life and happiness. The challenge is to recover the full American Dream of healthy communities with thriving families, whether or not capitalism is the economic system that leads to this happy life. Economic mobility alone can be detrimental--consider George's abandonment of his hometown for big city success. There is a rift in the Bayliss marriage over Dr. Bayliss's desire to do unprofitable research, because his wife wants him to make more money instead of do what he enjoys and what will help others.

6 The criticism of the American Dream, which lies at the heart of All My Sons, was one reason why Arthur Miller was called to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the 1950s, when America was gripped by anti-communist hysteria. Miller sent a copy of the play to Elia Kazan who directed the original stage version of All My Sons. Kazan was a former member of the Communist Party who shared Miller's left-wing views. However, their relationship was destroyed when Kazan gave names of suspected Communists to the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare.American DreamHouse Un-American Activities CommitteeElia KazanRed Scare

7 In All My Sons, Arthur Miller has depicted the American Dreams by exposing some fundamental tragedies in the lives of his protagonists. According to modern concept of tragedy, the protagonists should be accountable for their deeds while facing any kind of moral dilemma, they make some wrong decisions and choices for themselves which lead them on the verge of worst kind of tragedy. Such critical thinking is also observed in several TV programs, movies and other media sources where American dream is exaggerated to attract masses to move to America but they have to encounter bitter realities of lif

8 What are the American Dreams; these are to grow up with heaps of wealth and precious properties! There are different interpretations of the American Dreams but it is the common gist of it. But at the end of this play, All My Sons, the American Dreams are depicted contrarily where it is described how someone lives happily even after growing up, owing lots of property and becoming prosperous financially. Joe Keller had become prosperous and auspicious in his life financially but his life turned into a tragic life as the story moves towards a conclusive end, Arthur Miller wants to convey two contradictory viewpoints in his play, All My Sons, the American dream is bogus dream which is depicted only in very few and certain people’s life but most of them suffer from some panic situations in life in spite of having money (All My

9 Arthur Miller has evoked some fundamental questions in his play, All My Sons what are the individualistic social obligation, personal responsibility and dissimilarity between personal and public matters. In the play, All My Sons, Keller performs his specific actions during the war, he is depicted an individual who is accountable for himself and his family rather than for society. Miller evaluates Keller’s discriminatory worldview which affirms his belief; there is no value of crimes which are committed for sake of the family (All My Sons Study Guide, 2010). The main reason of conflicts which arises in the mind of Keller, who believes that Keller is not wrong in his proclaims, there is nothing more valuable than the family rather than whole world where Keller lives, “To cut yourself off from your relationships with society at large is to invite tragedy of a nature both public (regarding the pilots) and private (regarding the suicides)” (All My Sons Study Guide, 2010).

10 Arthur Miller has manipulated the flow of the story in the most technical manner that revelation of all secrets of the characters in play occurs on the same day. Such revelations are inevitable, causing the fatal consequences due to Denial and self-deception. The questions are raised how we deceive ourselves and others? We choose things to spotlight on life but we also need to refute some certain things for upgrading our living standards? What are impacts of denial upon the psyche of family and certain society? Keller family history displays what factors causes distortion and confrontation in the life. These factors include Larry’s death and Keller’s sense of liability for the consignment of defective parts. In the whole play, the mother denies first while she has to accept it and same case is with Keller himself. Such acts of denial and self- deception are rooted in both characters who live in a state of self- deception, avoiding one of the realities of life willingly in order to keep up the functional life-style of family

11 Chris is also characterized as an idealist who remains angry against the wartime profiteering. Some people views that he is a man of scruples setting apart from the social networks. Chris thinks to abandon all such scrupulous brooding who sends his father to jail. How idealism are not sustainable in the practical world which is very complex. Miller wants to stress upon the values of ideals or dreams by depicting such characters in his play how such ideals are sacrificed according to the current circumstances

12 Keller gives solid arguments during wartime how all his actions are so defensible in maintaining good business practice. He always asserts himself as an ill-mannered and uneducated person, boastfully taking pride in his financial success without any business education. But gradually his well-flourished business is victimized of downfalls. Here Miller takes this failure in comparison with loftiest politics and awkward system of capitalism which enhance the value of materialistic pursuits rather than the moral sense. The dramatist raises the question how rules of good business are exempted from moral and ethical norms & laws of the certain society

13 Miller reveals how such individualistic flaws can be interpreted with the economic progress and business success in terms of American dream. Keller has sacrifices all other parts of the American dream for just materialistic pursuits or financial growth only. He has given up the main role of his life as head of family, the basic human nature how he has made sacrifices of Steve and Larry. Miller points out the basic flaws of capitalist system which has no concerns with cultural as well as social morals. Miller criticizes such system of capitalism which encourages just greed for profiteering shares in the business stakes holders who may want to sacrifice the human life and happiness. So American dreams are so attractive apparently but there is too much hollowness inwardly which splits up the social networks in fits of despair and anger. But media and broadcasting sources have interpreted the American dreams in very attractive manner which shatter down the people so badly that they are forced to kill themselves

14 There is need to recover the full American dream of vigorous communities with prosperous families whether or not capitalism would lead economic system on right direction of progress and happiness. Only economic prosperity and mobility is very detrimental as man can’t enjoy life joyfully with just financial progress, there should be some social order which controls any kind of chaotic state of mind of individuals within the society to lead a peaceful and blissful life (American Dream, 2010).

15 Is the American Dream can be depicted as nightmare by Arthur miller who portrays the picture of a typical American family life after world war second. All characters are displayed with complacency and prosperity due to thriving business but at end of the play Keller shoots himself to complete the nightmare! The Americans are suffering from such tragic and panic situations which come on their way in the pursuit of the financial progress and prosperity. The people have become so materialistic and morally vacant that they don’t have any scruples in their hearts while committing crimes with the self-deception and denial approaches how they think that they are doing rightfully rather than confessing their crimes (American Dream, 2010).

16 The media plays vital role in idealizing America via different attractive advertisements on TV channels and heroes of movies how American is shining so brightly and everyone is entangled by such attractive commercial ads which invite the people to come to America. In All my Sons, Arthur Miller has delineated an ideal family characters which seems externally very good and complacent but inwardly there is nothing good, having many dark aspects of American life which seems very charming in media portrayals. The American dream idealizes the particular life-style of people in America which relates with potential and rights rather than morals or means

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