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Written by David Kinder Edited by Barbara Bleiman and Lucy Webster Cover: design by Sam Sullivan (; photography Stephen Vaughan Printed by: Stephens and George Ltd Published by: © The English and Media Centre, 18 Compton Terrace, London, N1 2UN, 2007 ISBN: 978 0 907016 97 7

We are especially grateful to Stephen Vaughan and the Liverpool EverymanPlayhouse Theatre who have so generously provided the production stills for this publication. Thanks to Philip Carter and the National Theatre Archive for the production still on page 35 and to the estate of Ivan Kyncl for the still from the National Theatre production of Mother Courage and Her Children on page 81. Thanks to A & C Black for permission to reproduce the opening to Mother Courage andHer Children; ICM Talent for permission to reproduce extracts from All My Sons and Arthur Miller’s ‘Introduction’ to The Collected Plays; The Guardian and Richard Norton-Taylor for ‘Unforgivable body armour delays caused soldier’s death, says coroner’ by Richard Norton-Taylor, 19th December 2006. Thanks also to the teachers who attended the EMC’s ‘Teaching All My Sons’ course, 2006.


StudyingAll My Sons

© English and Media Centre, 2007


Introduction Before reading Reading the play A group approach to reading Miller’s drama – conflicts and challenges The context Reading fragments What is All My Sons about? A critic’s view Reading the play 1. Opening stage direction 2. Keller and the neighbours 3. The introduction of Chris 4. The introduction of Mother 5.The introduction of Ann 6. Gradual revelations 7. ‘A kind of – responsibility’ 8. ‘The boy is coming’ 9. ‘A father is a father!’ 10. The arrival of George 11. The truth revealed 12. The conclusion of Act 2 13. ‘A forty foot front’ 14. The end of the play After reading Miller’s themes Symbols and motifs Exploring All My Sons in context Miller’s views on All My Sons and writing plays Why All My Sons?What’s in a name? Exploring Miller’s stage directions Exploring the subtext of All My Sons A linguistic approach to Miller’s dialogue The moral aspect of All My Sons Character studies – Chris and Mother Who is the central character? The key line Critical soundbites Exploring Miller’s choice of form – comparing openings Tragedy Ibsenism and the ‘well-made’ play A ‘well-made’ play – Miller’s use ofthe 3 act structure Exploring proxemics Teachers’ notes
© English and Media Centre, 2007

4 5 9 10 11, 12-13 11 14 16 19 23 24 27 29 30 34 36 37 39 42 44 47 47 48 51 55 55 57 60 63 65 66 73 74 75 76 82 86 87 88 95

Answers and annotated examples
Studying All My Sons



Reading the play
All My Sons is short enough to be read aloud in its entirety in only acouple of lessons. You may decide to read the play straight through the first time in order to give students the opportunity to experience Miller’s control of tension and to maintain a sense of the play as theatre. On the other hand, you may find it useful to pause at several key moments in the drama to reflect on, for example, the presentation of character, the themes and moral issues beingexplored, and Miller’s development and control of the tension. The following approaches to reading and studying the play would all work well. 1. A quick read-through, followed by slower, more analytical study, using a selection of activities provided in this resource. 2. A quick-read through, pausing at a few key moments (suggestions i-vii below), followed by fuller activities. i. Before readingactivities (see pages 9-13). ii. Pause at the end of ‘Now stop it!’ to discuss the development of tension and drama (see page 23). iii. At the end of ‘Section 6 – Gradual revelations’, choose a key line and collect together themes which seem to be emerging (see page 27). iv. At the end of Act 1, use the open questions on page 32 in class discussion to share understanding of, and response to, the...