How does Miller show his ability to build up tension in this extract?
(page 50 "How about some grape juice" - page 52 "the court did not
know him Annie!)
Throughout the play "all my sons" Miller thoroughly expresses his
ability to change and strengthen our emotions and develop tension
between characters. I found this effect of tension particularly
evident in this extract, a discussion between George, Chris and Annie.
Due to past history, we already know that feelings between Chris and
George are going to be "on edge". It appears that tension is already
apparent in the first few lines although the overall atmosphere
appears fairly mellow and laid back:
"How about some grape juice? Mother made it especially for you" -Chris
George replies with forced appreciation, perhaps indicating that he
doesn't really want to be there.
The argument between Chris and George doesn't actually begin until
"When you make suckers out of people once, you shouldn't try to do it
I believe this hurtful remark against Chris is in view of his father.
By putting him jail he has already been made out to be a "sucker"
once. Perhaps George is pointing out that if Annie marries Chris
she'll be doing it to him again. This remark fuels and instigates the
argument. Cutting remarks and short sentences quicken the pace of the
text and this also helps the argument to flow, although at regular
intervals Annie breaks up the argument by trying to calm the
Although the characters Miller focuses on are George and Chris, Annie
also has a clear part to play in her attempts to stop the dispute:
"(Breaking in, putting a restraining hand on Chris) When did you start
wearing a hat?"
"George will you sit down and stop---?"
However her efforts are overruled by the intolerance between the two,
which has clearly been building up for a long time. In a way her
motives can be compared with Kate's - she doesn't want anyone to know
what she knows, as she realises this will break up the family.
At the beginning of the meeting it appears that both George and...