The conflict in the play "All My Sons" in embodied by two different sets of values. The older generation represented by Joe and Kate strongly believed in family values and Pursue of the American dream at any cost. In contradiction, Joe and Anne express the younger generation's ethics and ideals clearly shown in the thoughts of idealism that money is not the most important thing in life. Even though the younger generation's ideals are sometimes thought of as being irrational and in conflict with reality, all throughout the play their validity is greater. Many times in parents-child relationships the parents have a very different view on things than the child they had raised. Most of these gaps are produced as a consequence of the different times they have grown in.
In the play "All My Sons" the diversity between the two generations with two sets of ideals are mostly not a result of generation gap but a result of greediness and age. Many people when they are young see the world from a more optimistic point of view and that is true for Chris and Anne. As people get old and have their own kids they are thought of to be more rational in their actions in order to protect their children. Joe Keller worked his whole life trying to create a better future for his sons, but at what cost? Arthur Miller's main point in the play is that people should look beyond their inner circle of society. Joe chose to ignore whatever does not concern his little circle. Although optimism is clearly shown in Chris' words his ideals are not to be mixed with dreams for they could be a reality.
All throughout the play Chris is convincing people to believe in his reality. Some of them, the Doctor for example, believe that Chris is right and a life that is not so money centered is possible. Others, the Doctor's wife for example, on the other hand, do no take Chris seriously because of his young age and poor experience in carrying out his own ideas. She expresses that by saying that Chris should go and work on his own before he preaches others. Her disagreement about her husband working in research is excused with a money issue.
This shows the reader once again that the parent generation in this play, who are supposed to be representing the American Dream, chose to give up happiness for money. Do American ideals not include "pursuit of happiness"? Chris believed his father to be a ethical man and he had a great deal of trust in him, when it came to a point where that trust was lost, he thought of losing hope in his morals as well. The readers of the play know that even though Chris thought about it in a moment of weakness he would not forget his ethics and therefore would never do something that he believes to be wrong. There is no point of Chris trying to change his mind because the passion he speaks in about these ideals will never die. Chris and Anne did not have their own family yet, which was an excuse for the older generation to contradict them although they knew the difference between right and wrong.
In this play the word "father" to Chris means righteousness and integrity. If one cannot look beyond one's personal circle they are condemned to an ending that is a tragic moment of realization that may bring an ending similar to Joe's. Another morality issue, which Chris has to deal with in regards to his father in taking responsibility. It is possible that Chris would have shown signs of forgiveness if Joe were to take responsibility for his actions. Instead of doing so once again he was hiding behind doing good only for the benefits of his inner circle. "There's nothing he could do that I wouldn't forgive.
Because he's my son. Because I'm his father and he's my son." In these words Keller expresses his own optimism that no matter what he is to do Chris will always understand, and forgive. That was not the case. If Keller could not forgive himself, why did he believe that Chris would ever be able to forgive him as well? Arthur Miller's play is an example of a literacy work that builds up to an ending that satisfies the reader's expectations and brings the play into a dramatic conclusion.
The reader knows all throughout the play that Keller's priorities and the way he chooses to achieve his goals are twisted and wrong. It is also clear that because he was wrong a moment of realization would come when he will realize that he was wrong. This moment was bound to lead to any sort of punishment for Joe concluding the conflicts and ending the play with a breath-taking ending. The reader learns that what Joe did was wrong when Chris, the one thing all these wrongs were for, leaves him. At that point Keller cannot find any reason to live and kills himself.
Kate is no better them him for she knew what happened and that everything they own comes from "blood money." Even though her words express understanding more than agreement for Joe, she expresses no morals or any opinions for that matter. The reader would expect her to have her own tragic ending as well for through out the play she consists on the fact that her life would come to an end if she finds out that Larry did in fact die. Different generation gaps may result in different ideas of curfew or bedtime but should not result in diverse ideas on humanity and morality, for these are universal issues that had always been in effect all through time. That is why Keller's ideals are no more than an excuse to do bad things and then feel that what he has done was the right thing to do for it was "all for his sons." The end of the play and the climax of finding out Keller was guilty in delivering the broken cylinder heads are a push for Chris to practice his ideals and live on his own as appose to with his parents using his parents money. After this tragic moment for Chris when he finds out that everything he had believe in and protected were lies he started doubting his morals but the readers and the audience knows that he knows where the line of morality is and he would never cross it.