All My Sons

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George Deever Character Analysis

Annie’s brother, George has also given up all ties to Steve following Steve’s trial, but when George hears that Annie wishes to marry Chris, George goes from New York to Columbus to seek out Steve and hear from him, once and for all, whether Joe was also guilty of the production of the faulty parts. George comes to the small town to attempt to prevent Annie from marrying Chris, and George’s arrival heralds the revelation that Joe ordered Steve to caulk over the parts, a revelation that ultimately causes Joe to kill himself.

George Deever Quotes in All My Sons

The All My Sons quotes below are all either spoken by George Deever or refer to George 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 2 Quotes

. . . 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.

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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.

The court didn’t know your father! But you know him. You know in your heart Joe did it.

Related Characters: George Deever (speaker), Joe Keller, Chris Keller
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, George becomes even more explicit in his condemnation of Joe Keller, the man he has believed, all along, to be guilty. George references the idea that Chris could "know" that his father is guilty "in his [Chris's] heart," and that all Chris would have to do to understand the matter would be to think about it squarely, to approach it honestly. For George, trained in the law, the facts of the case are relatively straightforward, and Joe's alibi during the time of the crime does not make sense.

But George is also pointing to perhaps the most powerful desire in the town after the war—the desire to proceed as though nothing happened, to state that everything is still normal, just as it was before. Chris is willing to participate in this to a degree—at least insofar as wanting to marry Ann, to continue working for his father, and to begin his own life after the war. For her part, Ann is also torn between Chris's perspective and her brother's—she too seems to sense that something is wrong with the Keller family, although she is unwilling to blame Joe, at this point, for his alleged crime.

And now you’re going to listen to me, George. You had big principles, Eagle Scouts the three of you [Larry, George, Chris] . . . Stop being a philosopher, and look after yourself. Like Joe was just saying—you move back here, he’ll help you get set, and I’ll find you a girl and put a smile on your face.

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Joe Keller, Chris Keller, George Deever, Larry Keller
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Kate more explicitly addresses what she perceives to be George's "problem." Kate believes that everything can be solved by the creation of an intact family unit. This is perhaps why she is most haunted by Larry's loss—because Larry was not able to return, marry Ann, and begin his own family. Although Kate also wants Chris to have a family, she is cooler on the prospect of Chris's marrying Ann, who is "Larry's girl," and who belongs therefore to a different family unit.

Kate ignores, then, what George is really saying—that Joe is a criminal and a liar, and that he has been living his lie for some years. That is a fact Kate cannot approach—just as she cannot tell herself that Larry is really gone. It is much easier for Kate to believe, instead, that the problem is George's—that George has not recovered from the war, and that he just needs a wife and family to set him straight. 

You, Joe . . . you’re amazingly the same.
Say, I ain’t got time to get sick.
He hasn’t been laid up in fifteen years.
Except my flu during the war.

Related Characters: Joe Keller (speaker), Kate Keller (speaker), George Deever (speaker)
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

This is a turning point in the play—a juncture wherein it becomes clear that Joe is, in fact, lying about what he did, or didn't do, during the production of the faulty airplane parts. Joe has previously claimed that he was not at the plant that day because he was sick with the flu. But his inveterate pride also causes him to proclaim, here, that he is never, ever sick—thus essentially contradicting his own alibi. Joe's bluster, his desire to be the alpha male in all situations, here gets him into trouble—and George, ever astute, seems to pick up on this.

Joe has had to manage his lie carefully ever since the war. A great deal of his life, indeed, has been consumed by the maintenance of the lie—the argument that Steve is solely responsible for the faulty parts, and that he, Joe, has maintained his integrity. Joe has even gone so far as to offer Steve a job (though not his co-ownership) after his prison sentence. But even Joe seems to realize, at this point in the play, that the lie is fraying—that his own guilt is becoming more and more clear.

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George Deever Character Timeline in All My Sons

The timeline below shows where the character George Deever 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
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
...now the Bayliss house, and played around with the Keller boys along with her brother, George. Jim is called back to his house by Sue, for another phone call with a... (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
...and briefly teases the two of them for kissing, then tells Annie that her brother, George, is on the line, long-distance, from Columbus. Annie is doubly shocked: to hear that George... (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
Annie goes inside to answer George’s phone call. Chris tells his father that he and Annie are getting married, and Joe... (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
After Chris insists that Annie’s visit would have nothing to do with George, and that Annie harbors no grudge against Joe for her father’s fate (in fact, she... (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
...drive, and the two exit to do so. Kate comes outside and warns Joe that George’s arrival can’t bode well—George, now a lawyer living in New York, would need a significant... (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
...always sleeps when he’s worried—and that Chris has to “protect” Kate and Joe from whatever George wants with the family, when he visits. Kate believes that George has never given up... (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
...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 get ready for dinner. Annie and... (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
...but Annie replies that she has given up her own father; she also says that George’s visit is probably not in the form of a marital “blessing,” and that Chris must... (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
...outside. Joe tells Annie, quite seriously, that he’s been thinking, and that he could set George up with a lawyer job in the small town, and, additionally, could probably find a... (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 car, Jim walks... (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... (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
George then asks Annie, gruffly, if she’s married yet to Chris; Annie says she’s not yet... (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
George tells Annie and Chris, in the yard, that Joe ordered Steve, on the phone three... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Chris tells George that his father is a timid man who wants to shift the blame to someone... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
But Kate comes outside and, sensing there is trouble, tries to soothe George, talking about his favorite foods, which she says she’ll cook for him, and about 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
Lydia tells George that she wound up with Frank, in part, because Frank never went to war, but... (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
At this, Joe comes downstairs and strains his “joviality” to welcome George. He asks how George is doing, and how Steve is; George says Steve seems “sick”... (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
Kate comes outside again and finally convinces George to stay for dinner and get on the midnight train instead; George seems ready to... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
...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 will only leave when Chris wants her to,... (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
...Jim that Annie is upstairs in her room, and that she has been there since George took his cab away from the Keller house. (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
...Chris and Joe over Annie, but Kate tells him, flat-out, that the argument was about George and Steve. Jim reveals that he has known, too, that Joe was responsible for the... (full context)