All My Sons

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Dr. Jim Bayliss Character Analysis

One of the Kellers’ neighbors, Jim and his wife Sue live in the house where Annie grew up. Jim laments the fact that he is forced to earn more money for Sue by performing a job he hates—he would rather serve as a medical researcher than as a practicing physician, but feels constrained by the demands of post-war materialist society to make more money and to appease his wife.

Dr. Jim Bayliss Quotes in All My Sons

The All My Sons quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Jim Bayliss or refer to Dr. Jim Bayliss. 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

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. 

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Act 3 Quotes

What’d Joe do, tell him?
Tell him what?
Don’t be afraid, Kate, I know. I’ve always known.
How?
It occurred to me a long time ago.

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Dr. Jim Bayliss (speaker), Joe Keller
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

This is an immensely important moment in the play. Jim reveals that he has known all along that Joe must have been guilty—that Joe's alibi has never stood up to scrutiny. But Jim also states that this is okay—that sometimes, in the course of a person's life, a man has to lie in order to put himself in a better position to succeed. The world is composed of people who have done this, and Jim does not except himself from this company. He talks, later in this passage, of a time he briefly left his wife, and says that the two swept this behavior under the rug as if it never occurred.

Thus Chris learns here that it is not so important that the town has to actually forget all that has happened during the war. The problem is not total suppression of the truth—the problem is Chris's concern with finding that truth out. Jim states that one does not need the truth—what one needs, instead, is a willingness to plow on regardless, to maintain the status quo and avoid causing trouble. 

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Dr. Jim Bayliss Character Timeline in All My Sons

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Jim Bayliss appears in All My Sons. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
...husband to Katie Keller, sitting outside reading the paper alongside his friend and neighbor Dr. Jim Bayliss. Keller has two sons: one, Chris, who works with him in the family business,... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
As the play begins, Frank Lubey, Joe’s neighbor on the side of the property opposite Jim’s, enters the backyard and tells Joe and Jim he (Frank) is “walking off his breakfast.”... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Frank then notices Jim (he hadn’t seen him before in the yard), and Jim tells Frank he’s crazy for... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Jim’s wife Sue enters, saying there is a phone call for Jim (a patient asking for... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
...wants only to critique Annie’s appearance, especially after Chris says how beautiful she is, too. Jim comes over and meets Annie, and Annie remarks that it wasn’t so long ago she... (full context)
Act 2
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
...shirt for dinner. Sue comes into the yard, where Annie is now alone, looking for Jim; they begin having a conversation. At first, Sue appears to be happy Annie is visiting,... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
...this criticism, but Sue continues, saying that, if Annie and Chris do marry, Sue and Jim want them to move somewhere far away. Annie is shocked by this, but Sue continues... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
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 and to put Steve... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Jim arrives with George—he has picked George up at the train station—and, leaving George in the... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
George then says hello, gruffly, to Sue, and asks whether she and Jim are the people that bought their old house (the Deever house). Sue says they are... (full context)
Act 3
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
At the beginning of this short, final Act, Jim finds Kate outside, rocking on the porch by the backyard, at two in the morning.... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Jim alludes to the possibility of an argument between Chris and Joe over Annie, but Kate... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Joe comes outside to see how Kate is doing, and Jim goes offstage, saying he will take his car and drive around the park looking for... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
...the immediate Keller family. Upstairs, a gunshot is heard, and Kate screams again, calling for Jim; Joe has shot himself out of grief. Chris is now doubly upset, for he tells... (full context)