All My Sons

Chris Keller Character Analysis

One of Joe and Kate’s two sons, Chris survives the war and works in his father’s business, making a good deal of money. Chris always had a nagging sense of doubt about his father’s innocence in the manufacturing affair, and Chris resents that peacetime life does not follow the clear moral breakdown into good and evil of wartime (as Chris describes, using the anecdote of dry socks lent him by a soldier with none to spare). Chris ends the play telling his mother that he did not intend to guilt his father into killing himself—Kate recognizes this, and, absolving Chris of guilt for his father’s death, tells Chris to move away with Annie.

Chris Keller Quotes in All My Sons

The All My Sons quotes below are all either spoken by Chris Keller or refer to Chris Keller. 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

She was out here when it broke.
When?
About four this morning. I heart it cracking and I woke up and looked out. She was standing right here when it cracked.

Related Characters: Joe Keller (speaker), Chris Keller (speaker), Kate Keller
Related Symbols: Larry’s Tree
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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See? We should have never planted that tree. I said so in the first place; it was too soon to plan a tree for him.
Too soon!
We rushed into it . . . .

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Chris Keller (speaker), Larry Keller
Related Symbols: Larry’s Tree
Page Number: 20-1
Explanation and Analysis:

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. . . one time it’d been raining several days and this kid came to me, and gave me his last pair of dry socks. Put them in my pocket. That’s only a little thing—but . . . that’s the kind of guys I had. They didn’t die; they killed themselves for each other . . . .

Related Characters: Chris Keller (speaker)
Related Symbols: Dry Socks
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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What are you talking about? What else can you do?
I could jail him! I could jail him, if I were human any more. But I’m like everybody else now. I’m practical now. You made me practical.
But you have to be.

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Chris Keller (speaker), Joe Keller
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

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If you can’t get used to it [the Keller family money], then throw it away. You hear me? Take every cent and give it to charity, throw it in the sewer. Does that settle it? . . .

Related Characters: Joe Keller (speaker), Chris Keller
Page Number: 81-2
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chris, a man can’t be a Jesus in this world!

Related Characters: Joe Keller (speaker), Chris Keller
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

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The war is over! Didn’t you hear? It’s over!
Then what was Larry to you? A stone that fell into the water? It’s not enough for him [Joe] to be sorry. Larry didn’t kill himself to make you and Dad sorry.
What more can we be!

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Chris Keller (speaker), Joe Keller, Larry Keller
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chris Keller Character Timeline in All My Sons

The timeline below shows where the character Chris Keller 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
...the paper alongside his friend and neighbor Dr. Jim Bayliss. Keller has two sons: one, Chris, who works with him in the family business, and one, Larry, who died flying a... (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
Chris comes downstairs, and Joe greets him, asking how Annie’s doing; Chris says she’s doing fine... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Chris and Joe look at the shorn tree that once memorialized Larry. Chris tells Joe, to... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
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Chris continues talking to his father, saying that they (he and his father) have “made a... (full context)
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Chris pulls closer to his father and continues talking. He tells Joe that he invited Annie... (full context)
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Joe is nervous about how this news will affect Kate, and he refuses to tell Chris, in a straightforward manner, how he feels about Chris marrying Annie—Joe is primarily worried that... (full context)
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Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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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... (full context)
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
...maid, and that today is her day off. Joe sits off to the side, and Chris helps Kate peel green beans for dinner. Kate complains of a bad night’s sleep and... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
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Chris becomes upset with his mother, indicating to her that, perhaps, Annie is no longer mourning... (full context)
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Chris is shocked to hear that Kate believes it is “too soon” to be mourning Larry.... (full context)
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Just then, Annie comes out with Chris to say hello to Joe and Kate. Joe is happy to see Annie and tells... (full context)
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
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Annie tells Chris, in front of Joe and Kate, that she’s surprised he has so many clothes, but... (full context)
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Annie turns to Chris and asks him if the neighborhood is still talking about her father’s trial and imprisonment.... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
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...in prison, and Annie says she does not; she thinks he is a murderer, and Chris appears to agree, saying that Steve “killed” 21 American pilots in the war. Again, this... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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...not a bad man, that he just made a mistake, and that he’s no murderer. Chris becomes angry with his father for even bringing up this whole mess, which seems to... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
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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,... (full context)
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Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
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Chris tells Annie that he’s not “ashamed” to be courting his brother’s girl, but that he... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
At that, however, Chris turns to Annie and says that he will make her a fortune—Annie replies that she... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
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Annie goes inside to answer George’s phone call. Chris tells his father that he and Annie are getting married, and Joe seems unaffected by... (full context)
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Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
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After Chris insists that Annie’s visit would have nothing to do with George, and that Annie harbors... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
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...something important he wants to discuss regarding his father with Joe. Annie, clearly shaken, tells Chris she wants to go for a drive, and the two exit to do so. Kate... (full context)
Act 2
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The Act opens on the evening of the same day. Chris is outside, in dress pants but no shirt, clearing away the brush from Larry’s sheared... (full context)
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Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Chris forcefully but still politely objects, to Kate, to the idea that Annie has anything to... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Annie brushes off 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... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
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...she says she hates living next to the “Holy Family,” the Kellers, and she finds Chris’s “phony idealism” to be immensely frustrating. Annie cannot believe what she’s hearing, but as Sue... (full context)
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After Sue leaves, Chris begins saying how much he likes her, and that she’s a good nurse, but Annie... (full context)
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Annie tells Chris that he must be prepared to “leave his family behind” if it is revealed that... (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... (full context)
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...George up 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... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
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...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; George also... (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 announces that Annie will not marry Chris... (full context)
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George tells Annie and Chris, in the yard, that Joe ordered Steve, on the phone three years ago, to weld... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
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Chris tells George that his father is a timid man who wants to shift the blame... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
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...they will have a dinner at the house that night, instead of going out; but Chris tells George that, if he stays for the evening, there will be no more arguing.... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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...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, but... (full context)
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Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Kate then screams to Joe and Chris that Chris has to understand something: if Larry is dead, then Joe “killed” him, 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
Chris can’t believe that his father is responsible for the murder of 21 pilots, and though... (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
...by the backyard, at two in the morning. Kate tells Jim she is waiting for Chris to come back; he took the car, after his argument with Joe, and drove to... (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 tells him, flat-out, that the argument was about George... (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
...goes offstage, saying he will take his car and drive around the park looking for Chris. Joe and Kate have a small argument, in which Kate says Joe always get angry... (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
...to handle 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... (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
Chris also announces that he would not want his father to go to jail; that jail... (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
Annie takes the letter and, though Kate tries to intercept her, shoves it in Chris’s hands, telling Chris it was the last thing Larry sent her—Annie does this, it seems,... (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
...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 has now realized... (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
Chris tells his mother that, finally, the family is confronting the reality that they have obligations... (full context)