All my Sons by Arthur Miller

In Language and Literature we will start working with one of Arthur Miller’s most famous plays, “All my Sons”. In order to little by little get deeper into the plot of the play, tge teacher told us to do both, a collaborative work in pairs consisting of a summary of Miller’s life and an individual work regarding the answering of a series of questions related to responsibility.

Collaborative work

Every pair had to gather 10 relevant facts of the author’s life, each from a different link. Once the 20 facts were chosen, we had to debate with our pair so that your facts would prevail in the final summary of only 10 facts from the chosen 20. I did it with Marcos Okecki:

  • He was born October 17, 1915, New York, New York, U.S. and died February 10, 2005, Roxbury, Connecticut
  • He came from an immigrant family of Polish and Jewish descent
  • He was an American playwright, who combined social awareness with a searching concern for his characters’ inner lives.
  • The Great Depression brought financial ruin onto his father, demonstrating to the young Miller the insecurity of modernity
  • In 1956, Miller divorced his first wife, Mary Slattery, his former college sweetheart with whom he had two children, Jane Ellen and Robert.
  • All My Sons (1947; filmed 1948), a drama about a manufacturer of faulty war materials
  • In The Price (1968) Miller explored the theme of guilt and responsibility to oneself and to others by examining the strained relationship between two brothers
  • He criticised both Anti-Semitism in his plays
  • The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)refused to renew Miller’s passport because of some of his work
  • In 1962, Miller married Austrian-born photographer Inge Morath and had two children Rebecca and Daniel. Daniel who was born with Down syndrome was excluded from the family.

Individual work

Following the order of questions that were posted in the teacher’s blog, we had to answer them:

  • How would you define a responsible person?
  • Are you a responsible person? Why or why not? Give examples of people you know in your personal life or in the public domain who are responsible. How do these individuals support your definition?
  • How does one learn to become a responsible person?
    Who are the “teachers” and where do we find them in our lives?
  • Is being responsible a character trait that you value a lot?
    Why or why not?
  • The Golden Rule is “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” What does this statement mean? Can you think of a situation in your own life in which you used this statement as the guiding principle for the action that you took? If “yes,” explain.

In my opinion, a responsible person is someone who has an obligation and, without any foreign input, does the right thing. I consider myself a responsible person on account that, even though I may seem to carry out everything at the last minute and without any time, I still do what I’m asked for or have to do as a personal commitment. For instance, I go to school everyday, I do my homework, though often at the last moment and, no matter what I’m doing, everyday I have dance lessons I get up, get dressed, get out of my house and attend. I have the duty to do something and although I don’t always want to, I do it due to the fact that I commited, not only to do it, but also to my teachers, my parents and myself. I was not so hard for me to follow the path of responsibility as I am the eldest sister of my two younger brothers, thus I might have an unconscious thought that I have to set a good example. However, one may be taught to be responsible by one’s parents, teachers, friends or even by people whom are strangers to you, yet you have seen taking care of their obligations and made an impact on oneself to become them. These “teachers” become themselves through our own eyes, setting an example, or pointing out the consequences of not doing one’s compromises that one never thought about and affect us in a way that makes us walk to the startline of the responsibility race.

I believe being liable is of sheer importance at the moment of analysing the qualifications of a person. Not necessarily talking about a job, also about friendship or parenthood. Being responsible assures a future. Between a person who is responsible and one who is not, the first one will have the more avail at the moment of putting up for a job, of becoming a parent and even of becoming a friend. It creates trust in the other either it is a contract or a baby or a very personal issue that its set within the hold of one’s hands. Otherwise, the company won’t be sure it the contract will be done in time, you may not have faith on yourself to raise a baby and your friends may not fully bond with you unless you show them they can.

The refrain “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” is one of the essential parameters in life. It expresses neatly the circularity of life; how your actions affect the other and thus they affect you in response. It is very common to hear it at the moment of planning a revenge on someone that will later prejudice you. I know it was in my case: someone had certainly done something hurtful to me so that in between anger and misery I began coming up with many different ways in which I could pay the aggressor back. Yet, suddenly, probably my mother, jumps into my ball of thoughts and disentangles them by presenting me to my reason. This one automatically makes me realise that if I do any of the things that I was planning, I would become the other person, which I most certainly did not want to happen.

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