All My Sons

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Ann Deever Character Analysis

Known to those in the play as Annie, Ann is Chris’s fiancée, formerly a girlfriend of Larry’s before the war. Annie has not spoken to her father since Steve’s conviction for his involvement in the manufacturing fiasco. Joe suspects Annie has come back not just to marry Chris but to “spy” on the Kellers in order to further Steve’s cause for innocence. But Annie is a goodhearted individual, wanting only the best for those involved in the play—she wishes to marry Chris, she wants Kate to be happy, she wants her father to recognize his moral cowardice in following Joe’s orders, and she wants Joe to take responsibility for his actions, which caused, indirectly, Larry’s suicide during the war.

Ann Deever Quotes in All My Sons

The All My Sons quotes below are all either spoken by Ann Deever or refer to Ann Deever. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin edition of All My Sons published in 2000.
Act 1 Quotes

It’s so strange—Annie’s here and not even married. And I’ve got three babies. I always thought it’d be the other way around.

Related Characters: Lydia Lubey (speaker), Ann Deever
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Lydia, Frank's husband, has also participated in the post-war return to "normalcy." She has children, she and Frank live together. They have assembled a suburban life that looks away from and beyond the horrors of the war. Lydia then seems surprised when she realizes that not everyone has achieved this dream in his or her own life. In particular, she is struck that Ann, who appeared destined to marry Larry, has not begun her own life without him.

Lydia and Frank do not play central roles in the work, but they are nevertheless reminders both of the aspiration to be "normal" and of the difficulties in maintaining this state of equilibrium. Lydia, Frank, and their three children appear to be an intact family—but they, like all the other characters, are still wracked by the thought of the war and its violence. Similarly, the other couple mentioned in this part of the play—Sue and Jim Bayliss—also have a relationship that is more complex than it initially appears. Sue's jealousy—her belief that any phone call for her husband is a woman trying to begin an affair with him—characterizes their relationship despite all appearances of peace and calm between them. 

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The trouble is, you don’t see enough women. You never did.
So what? I’m not fast with women.
I don’t see why it has to be Annie.
Because it is.

Related Characters: Joe Keller (speaker), Chris Keller (speaker), Ann Deever
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Both Joe and Kate have trouble with the idea, later revealed in the play, that Chris will marry Ann. This is because Chris's relationship with Ann upsets the agreed-upon order of the families before the war, when Ann and Larry were together. Kate even praised Ann later for "waiting" for Larry for many years after he has gone missing.

But eventually Ann must move on with her life, and she does fall genuinely in love with Chris. Joe and Kate, for their part, however, have trouble accepting the idea that Chris and Ann could be together. Like the tree, this relationship would imply that Larry is really gone—that life has gone on without him after the war. Joe has great difficulty coming to terms with this. Indeed, many in the town have difficulty with the idea of Chris and Ann together, too. Miller has created a setting in which families, though independent, do seem to depend on one another's conception of what is normal and right. Thus Sue and Jim, and Frank and Lydia, speak in passing of Larry and Ann's relationship of years ago—as though any other relationship of Ann's could not be valid. 

But I’ll always love that girl. She’s one that didn’t jump into bed with somebody else as soon as it happened with her fella.

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Ann Deever
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

Kate praises Ann in a manner that is actually chastising her. Kate pretends not to know why Ann would want to visit the Keller family now, since Larry is still missing. Both Kate and Joe seem to acknowledge that there is a friendship between Chris and Ann, but neither is willing to accept the possibility that Chris and Ann might wish to be married. This suspension of belief is similar to the suppression of other difficult truths in the play—namely, that Larry is still alive, or that Joe might have been responsible for the faulty parts just as much as, or more than, Steve was. 

Thus Kate's praise is actually a veiled criticism. Kate wants to make sure that Ann knows she is not really permitted to move beyond Larry. For, if Ann does so, this would imply that other members of the family would have to, too. And Kate and Joe are not ready to do this—not ready to accept the reality that Larry really did perish during the Second World War. 

I’ve only met you, Ann, but if I may offer you a piece of advice—When you marry, never—even in your mind—never count your husband’s money.

Related Characters: Dr. Jim Bayliss (speaker), Ann Deever
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Jim Bayliss is a minor character in the play, and his statement here, to Ann, can be interpreted in several ways. It could be an argument that Ann should be careful to marry for love—to establish a bond and a family with someone whom she trusts completely. Or, Jim could be making a more useful and cynical point, that Ann might be marrying for all sorts of reasons, but that money, as a baseline for marriage, is not particularly dependable. Financial fortunes rise and fall, and Jim notes that Ann should be prepared to accept that her husband might not wind up wealthy after all. This in itself would be a comment on Jim's own marriage, as he ends up stuck in a job he hates trying to financially support his wife.

Jim's piece of advice also indicates the nature of neighborly interaction in the town. Neighbors have no trouble offering hints or tips on one another's business. It is a close-knit and gossipy community, bound together by the traumas of the war. 

It’s wrong to pity a man like that [Steve]. Father or no father, there’s only one way to look at him. He knowingly shipped out parts that would crash an airplane. And how do you know Larry wasn’t one of them?

Related Characters: Ann Deever (speaker), Larry Keller, Steve Deever
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

Ann states without guilt that if her father, Steve, knowingly was involved in the shipping of faulty parts for airplanes during the war, then he should be punished. Ann believes that the guilt for the airmen's deaths should fall on the heads of those who were negligent in manufacturing the parts. She does not seem to imply that Joe was one of these people—she places the blame squarely on her father's shoulders, despite their close familial relationship.

But, of course, the other characters in the play recognize that Joe might very well have been responsible for the shipping of the parts as well, and that Joe might even have "sold out" Steve in order to protect his (Joe's) family, at Steve's expense. Ann appears not to believe this. But others in the community wonder if Ann hasn't returned to "check up on" the Keller family, to see whether Joe has been unfair to her father, who is currently in prison for his crime. 

Act 2 Quotes

. . . it’s very unusual to me, marrying the brother of your sweetheart.
I don’t know. I think it’s mostly that whenever I need somebody to tell me the truth I’ve always thought of Chris . . . . He relaxes me.

Related Characters: Ann Deever (speaker), Sue Bayliss (speaker), Chris Keller, Ann Deever, Larry Keller
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

Sue makes no bones about telling Ann that her behavior—marrying Chris after being Larry's girlfriend during the war—is "strange" to her. Ann, for her part, admirably replies that she loves and admires Chris, and that the two themselves have had a long friendship, dating back even to when Larry and Ann were together. Ann thus parries Sue's attack—trying to brush off her concern while defending her choice to be with Chris.

Sue seems to want to sow discord between Chris and Ann. She, like Jim and some of the other neighbors, is heavily involved in the privates lives of those she lives near to. Miller creates an atmosphere in which private business, things that belong within a home or to one family, become instances of public drama. Joe, Kate, Chris, and Larry are public, tragic figures in their town, and their neighbors know nearly as much, or more, about their lives than they do. 

The man [Joe] is innocent, Ann. Remember he was falsely accused once and it put him through hell. How would you behave if you were faced with the same thing again? Annie believe me, there’s nothing wrong for you here, believe me, kid.

Related Characters: Chris Keller (speaker), Joe Keller, Ann Deever
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the play, Chris still tries to defend his father. He genuinely believes that Joe has been falsely accused; Chris can not reckon with the possibility that his father really did allow faulty parts to be put in American planes. In this way, Chris's inability to cope with a difficult truth is not dissimilar to his mother's. Chris, for his part, believes that Kate is the most deluded in the family—the least willing to come to terms with the past. But Chris himself has "dark spots" of his memory, with which he'd rather not become reacquainted. 

Chris explains this to Ann, even as he realizes that Ann's own father, who worked with Joe, has taken the brunt of the blame for the plane parts. Steve has suffered far worse than Joe has suffered. For while both have seen their reputations crumble, only Steve is actually in prison—and only because Joe allowed him to take sole responsibility for the negligence at the plant. Thus Chris, for all his good intentions, seems to be explaining to Ann a situation she understands better than he can possibly know. 

. . . you and George . . . go to prison and tell him [Steve] . . . “Dad, Joe wants to bring you into the business when you get out.”
You’d have him as a partner?
No, no partner. A good job.

Related Characters: Joe Keller (speaker), Ann Deever (speaker), Ann Deever, George Deever, Steve Deever
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

Joe's comments to Chris and Ann are as complicated as many of his other emotional responses in the text. Joe and Steve were partners in the airplane-part business—thus, Joe offering Steve a job is, at best, a less-valuable offer than the job Steve originally had. Of course, it is later revealed that Joe also testified against Steve and put him in jail, allowing him to take the fall for the entire faulty-part affair. Many have repudiated Steve and his actions—including Ann—although George, Ann's brother, seems more willing to defend their father. 

Joe, in short, feels that he owes at least something to Steve for the time Steve has served in prison. But Joe cannot come out in public and say that he, Joe, blamed Steve for the problem, or that this "generosity" on his part is really a feeble attempt to ease his own guilt in the affair. Thus, as in other parts of the play, the characters are damned both by their crimes and by their inability to expiate for them. Joe, at the end of the play, is horrified when his guilt is revealed, and he kills himself as a result. But he is also obviously relieved at having made plain the internal burden he has borne for so long.

How is he [Steve]?
He got smaller
Smaller?
Yeah, little. He’s a little man. That’s what happens to suckers, you know. It’s good I went to him in time—another year there’d be nothing left but his smell.

Related Characters: Ann Deever (speaker), George Deever (speaker), Steve Deever
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

George is clearly the most embittered character in the play. He is desperately angry at the Keller family for what he feels is their injustice toward his father. George seems to understand that his father, Steve, could not have acted alone in the faulty-part affair. He senses instead that Joe perhaps directed the production of the parts, or at least knew about them, and did nothing to stop their shipment.

George therefore does not participate in much of the "performance" of goodwill and friendship that others in the town, and especially in the Keller family, try to put on. George is not interested in coming back to the town he once knew. He is a lawyer now; he has moved away, and has distanced himself from his father and family, although he remains somewhat close to Ann. But George knows that the way to deal with the traumas of the war is to make plain what exactly happened and to face it directly. This is why he has returned to town—to pursue his hunch about his father's behavior, and Joe's guilt, and get to the bottom of the matter.

Act 3 Quotes

My dear, if the boy was dead, it wouldn’t depend on my words to make Chris know it . . . .The night he gets into your bed, his heart will dry up. Because he knows and you know. To his dying day he’ll wait for his brother!

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Chris Keller, Ann Deever
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

Kate's bitterness over the loss of Larry knows no bounds. She is even willing to compromise Chris's happiness in order to "prove" that Ann ought to wait for Larry, and that Chris is merely moving in on "his brother's girl." Kate appears to need this illusion—that of Larry's safe return—in order to keep living. But she does not seem to realize, or does not care, that her insistence on Larry's lingering presence is ruining the happiness of those around her, even her own son.

Kate's argument here, too, echoes what she and Joe feel all the time: a deep-down, half-conscious guilt. Each character in the Keller family—those who have survived—nurses a different form of guilt. Joe knows that he has negligently killed Americans. Kate knows that Joe is guilty, and that she has helped him to cover up his guilt. And Chris feels, rightly or wrongly, that perhaps he is achieving happiness at Larry's expense—a happiness Larry did not survive to feel.

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Ann Deever Character Timeline in All My Sons

The timeline below shows where the character Ann Deever appears in All My Sons. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
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...a medical researcher—which was his dream career as a younger man. Jim also asks whether Ann is in the house, and Joe says she is, still getting ready for the day... (full context)
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Chris comes downstairs, and Joe greets him, asking how Annie’s doing; Chris says she’s doing fine and asks for the book section of the newspaper.... (full context)
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Chris pulls closer to his father and continues talking. He tells Joe that he invited Annie to visit because he wants to ask her to marry him, even though he knows... (full context)
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...he refuses to tell Chris, in a straightforward manner, how he feels about Chris marrying Annie—Joe is primarily worried that the news will cause Kate distress. Chris complains that Joe wants... (full context)
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At the high point of their argument, Chris threatens to marry Annie and run away to New York City—where Annie currently lives—in order to start a new,... (full context)
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...has something like, but not quite, a headache—when Chris tries to prime his mother about Annie’s appearance, hoping Kate will be happy to have Annie around, Kate seems confused as to... (full context)
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Chris becomes upset with his mother, indicating to her that, perhaps, Annie is no longer mourning Larry, and that she has waited to get married for other... (full context)
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...of answering him directly, and turns to Joe, still in the yard, asking Joe why Annie has come to visit. Joe claims he has no more information about it than Kate... (full context)
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...chances of Larry returning are very slim. Kate still believes, or wants to believe, that Annie, too, is waiting for Larry to return. As the two are talking, Bert comes back... (full context)
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Just then, Annie comes out with Chris to say hello to Joe and Kate. Joe is happy to... (full context)
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Annie tells Chris, in front of Joe and Kate, that she’s surprised he has so many... (full context)
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Joe and Kate also ask after Annie’s father, Steve, and mother—there seems to have been some trouble in their relationship, and Annie... (full context)
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Frank comes over and says hello; Annie remarks that Frank is growing bald, and Kate tells Annie that Frank has three kids... (full context)
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Annie turns to Chris and asks him if the neighborhood is still talking about her father’s... (full context)
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Joe tells Annie that her father and mother should move back to town after her father is released... (full context)
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Annie goes so far as to wonder whether her father’s negligence didn’t kill Larry, who happened... (full context)
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Joe continues, explaining to Annie what her father has done (and, simultaneously, providing the audience with more context): Steve and... (full context)
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Joe tells Annie that her father is not a bad man, that he just made a mistake, and... (full context)
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Joe goes inside, leaving Chris and Annie alone. Annie tells Chris he’s been acting strange so far on her visit, and Chris,... (full context)
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Chris tells Annie that he’s not “ashamed” to be courting his brother’s girl, but that he feels guilty,... (full context)
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At that, however, Chris turns to Annie and says that he will make her a fortune—Annie replies that she doesn’t need a... (full context)
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Annie goes inside to answer George’s phone call. Chris tells his father that he and Annie... (full context)
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After Chris insists that Annie’s visit would have nothing to do with George, and that Annie harbors no grudge against... (full context)
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Annie comes back on-stage and announces that her brother is taking the seven-o’clock train from Columbus... (full context)
Act 2
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...come with new information about the trial and Steve’s imprisonment. Kate also wonders aloud whether Annie is “in on” George’s plan to ruin the Keller family. (full context)
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Chris forcefully but still politely objects, to Kate, to the idea that Annie has anything to do with George’s visit. Annie comes outside, and Kate goes inside to... (full context)
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Annie brushes off this criticism, but Sue continues, saying that, if Annie and Chris do marry,... (full context)
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Sue then becomes even more pointed in her criticisms: she tells Annie that she and Jim “know” that Joe merely lied to get out of jail time... (full context)
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...Chris begins saying how much he likes her, and that she’s a good nurse, but Annie snaps, immediately, that Sue “hates” Chris and the Kellers—she doesn’t understand how Chris can be... (full context)
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Annie tells Chris that he must be prepared to “leave his family behind” if it is... (full context)
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Joe comes outside and seems happy at the idea, now, that Chris and Annie are in love—he seems them together and assumes they are once again sharing a quiet... (full context)
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...at the train station—and, leaving George in the car, Jim walks up to Chris and Annie, still outside, to tell Chris that he ought to drive George somewhere farther away and... (full context)
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...of the grape beverage Kate has set out for him—an old favorite—but announces sourly to Ann and Chris that he’s been to see his father, who looks “smaller” now in prison;... (full context)
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George then asks Annie, gruffly, if she’s married yet to Chris; Annie says she’s not yet married, and George... (full context)
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George tells Annie and Chris, in the yard, that Joe ordered Steve, on the phone three years ago,... (full context)
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...father’s innocence. George is insistent that Joe is guilty, however, and says he will take Annie away—that Annie is the last “prize” that the Keller will not be allowed to take... (full context)
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...more arguing. Lydia comes over and shyly says hello to George; it appears that, like Annie and Frank, George and Lydia had a long-ago courtship, and George is surprised to learn... (full context)
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Kate goes inside for a moment, and comes back out to announce that she’s packed Annie’s bag, and that Annie can leave with George. Chris and Annie both say that Annie... (full context)
Act 3
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...his argument with Joe, and drove to an unknown place. Kate also tells Jim that Annie is upstairs in her room, and that she has been there since George took his... (full context)
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Jim alludes to the possibility of an argument between Chris and Joe over Annie, but Kate tells him, flat-out, that the argument was about George and Steve. Jim reveals... (full context)
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...but that getting angry won’t solve their current crisis. Kate tells Joe she believes that Annie has figured out the nature of Chris’s argument with Joe, and that she therefore knows... (full context)
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At this, Annie comes out to the porch, and sits silently for a moment with Joe and Kate.... (full context)
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...the family’s trauma, and so he does not learn of the letter immediately. Chris asks Annie and Kate, who is in morbid shock, to sit down: he announces to both that... (full context)
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...it truly punish the deed that his father has done. Joe comes outside to join Annie, Kate, and Chris, and tells Chris that, if Chris wants, he will go to jail... (full context)
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Annie takes the letter and, though Kate tries to intercept her, shoves it in Chris’s hands,... (full context)
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...responsible for the deaths of some pilots, he was not responsible for Larry’s. Joe tells Annie, Kate, and Chris that, although he always thought he didn’t kill his own son, he... (full context)
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...for Joe to kill himself—he simply wanted his father to know the truth. But as Annie stands on watching mutely, Kate tells Annie and Chris that now they ought to go... (full context)