Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Do Good Intentions Matter if the Outcome is Bad?

As required, I've recently been reading a few AP titles during IRT. I've personally found the experience very enjoyable and different, and it's causing me to challenge myself more than I would on my own. The second title of my AP choices, and the one I'm currently reading, is All My Sons by Arthur Miller. It was also different for me since I tend to read purely fiction, and non-fiction isn't something I'd read on my own choice. I was able to finish it in a single day, as it was a rather short book (in fact, it only had 70 pages). That, coupled with the fact that the book kept me excited to find out what would happen next through out, made it possible to finish it in under an hour.

I was originally surprised to find out the book was an AP choice, since I had little to no trouble reading it. However, things began to make sense as I got further along in the playwright. The book contains so many different themes that it's difficult to talk about each one, but the most prominent theme would have to be the conflict between personal and business ethics, which is something that isn't touched upon by most modern books. In the story, Chris, a war veteran, is devastated upon finding out his father, Joe, was responsible for the death of several pilots when he knowingly shipped broken parts to them. His reason being he couldn't afford to be fired from the strict business he was in, and attempts to explain this to Chris by saying, "
You lay forty years into a business and they knock you out in five minutes, what could I do, let them take forty years, let them take my life away? (59)" Although Joe had good intentions, Chris doesn't see it this way. "For me! I was dying every day and you were killing my boys and you did it for me? What the hell do you think I was thinking of, the Goddam business? Is that as far as your mind can see, the business? (60)" The man-vs-self and man-vs-man conflict is made most obvious in this scene and it's very hard to imagine how difficult the situation must've been for both men, but Miller does an outstanding job of portraying it. Both sides have their own solid reasons for their arguments, Joe being a father and having to support his family no matter the cost, and Chris a scarred war veteran who loved all his comrades. I believe a lot of people end up causing a lot more harm than good without meaning to, the most obvious of these situations coming from people in the spotlight such as celebrities and politicians. Most of all, however, criminals. And Chris sees his father as just that, a criminal.