All My Sons

Kate Keller Character Analysis

Joe’s devoted wife, Kate knows of Joe’s malfeasance during the war and seeks to “sweep under the rug” her husband’s moral failings. Kate also waits, day in, day out, for her son Larry’s return, and curses her other son, Chris, for wanting to move on, and for desiring to marry Annie, whom Larry had dated before the war. At the play’s end, however, after Joe’s death, Kate tells Annie and Chris to move away from the small town and start a new family on their own.

Kate Keller Quotes in All My Sons

The All My Sons quotes below are all either spoken by Kate Keller or refer to Kate 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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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:

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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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Act 2 Quotes

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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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:

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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:

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You have no strength. The minute there’s trouble you have no strength.
Joe, you’re doing the same thing again; all your life whenever there’s trouble you yell at me and you think that settles it.

Related Characters: Joe Keller (speaker), Kate Keller (speaker)
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

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Joe, Joe . . . it don’t excuse it that you did it for the family.
It’s got to excuse it!
There’s something bigger than the family to him.

Related Characters: Kate Keller (speaker), Joe Keller
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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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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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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Kate Keller Character Timeline in All My Sons

The timeline below shows where the character Kate 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
...Keller home, with Joe Keller, head of the family, father of two boys, husband to Katie Keller, sitting outside reading the paper alongside his friend and neighbor Dr. Jim Bayliss. Keller... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
...at the shorn tree that once memorialized Larry. Chris tells Joe, to Joe’s surprise, that Kate, Joe’s wife and Chris’s mother, has already seen the tree in its broken state; 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
...to his father, saying that they (he and his father) have “made a mistake” with Kate because they have kept her under the false impression that Larry might still be alive,... (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
...marry him, even though he knows that Annie was once “Larry’s girl,” and even though Kate will not approve of the union—since it will mean, symbolically, that Larry is truly dead,... (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
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... (full context)
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...to build up and hand over, eventually, to his son. Without their argument being resolved, Kate walks outside and sees them talking; interrupting, she asks Joe if he threw out a... (full context)
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Joe grumbles about needing a maid around the house to help his wife, and Kate reminds Joe that they have a maid, and that today is her day off. Joe... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
...longer mourning Larry, and that she has waited to get married for other reasons. But Kate will have none of that. She instead tells Chris about her dream of the previous... (full context)
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Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Chris is shocked to hear that Kate believes it is “too soon” to be mourning Larry. Chris says that the tree’s being... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Kate reminds Joe of the other Americans presumed lost in the war who have returned home,... (full context)
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Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Just then, Annie comes out with Chris to say hello to Joe and Kate. Joe is happy to see Annie and tells her how beautiful she is, but Kate... (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 Chris reveals that Annie is staying... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Joe and Kate also ask after Annie’s father, Steve, and mother—there seems to have been some trouble in... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
Loss and Memory Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
Frank comes over and says hello; Annie remarks that Frank is growing bald, and Kate tells Annie that Frank has three kids with Lydia now. Annie and Frank appear uncomfortable... (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
...father’s negligence didn’t kill Larry, who happened to go missing in a plane crash. But Kate begs Annie never to say again that her father’s negligent act was responsible for Larry’s... (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 she wants to go for a 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... (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
...outside, in dress pants but no shirt, clearing away the brush from Larry’s sheared tree. Kate comes out, not yet dressed for dinner, to see what Chris is doing. Kate tells... (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 forcefully but still politely objects, to Kate, to the idea that Annie has anything to do with George’s visit. Annie comes outside,... (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
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...anger, which Jim believes to have to do with the Joe-Steve affair, will only cause Kate grief, and Jim is worried about Kate’s fragile state of mind. But Chris says George... (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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...George says he liked the house better before. George drinks some of the grape beverage Kate has set out for him—an old favorite—but announces sourly to Ann and Chris that he’s... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
War, Morality, and Consequences Theme Icon
Wealth and Its Accumulation Theme Icon
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But Kate comes outside and, sensing there is trouble, tries to soothe George, talking about his favorite... (full context)
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Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Liability, Culpability, and Guilt Theme Icon
Kate comes outside again and finally convinces George to stay for dinner and get on the... (full context)
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Loss and Memory Theme Icon
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Kate goes inside for a moment, and comes back out to announce that she’s packed Annie’s... (full context)
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Kate then screams to Joe and Chris that Chris has to understand something: if Larry is... (full context)
Act 3
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
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At the beginning of this short, final Act, Jim finds Kate outside, rocking on the porch by the backyard, at two in the morning. Kate tells... (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 and Steve. Jim reveals that he... (full context)
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Joe comes outside to see how Kate is doing, and Jim goes offstage, saying he will take his car and drive around... (full context)
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...Annie comes out to the porch, and sits silently for a moment with Joe and Kate. They find they have difficulty saying anything to one another—they all know what has transpired... (full context)
Family and Familial Obligation Theme Icon
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...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 he is... (full context)
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...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 (he... (full context)
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Annie takes the letter and, though Kate tries to intercept her, shoves it in Chris’s hands, telling Chris it was the last... (full context)
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...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 has... (full context)
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...themselves—that their responsibilities lies outside 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... (full context)