In a conversation with Annie
at the close of Act 1, Chris
recounts a brief story of a GI in the war who offered Chris his last pair of dry socks. Chris views this gesture, and these socks, as indicative of the kind of care and brotherhood soldiers showed to one another in battle, and Chris rues the idea that this brotherhood is now lost in post-war, materialist culture. Chris’s dry socks, like the tree, are also a complex symbol. To Chris, the dry socks are an uncomplicated way of representing camaraderie in battle. But it is clear, in the context of the play, that Chris wishes all moral decisions in peacetime resembled the moral clarity the socks represent. Working in the family business, and coping with his father’s
guilt in the manufacturing fiasco, are not so simple as this act of kindness and charity, and Chris bemoans the fact that, in his adult life, he must confront a moral universe far more complicated, far less black-and-white, than the one in which he took solace during combat.