Joe Keller Response

Submitted By Ŀouïsa-Jï
Words: 646
Pages: 3

Literary Response
“I’m his father and he’s my son, and if there’s something bigger than that I’ll put a bullet in my head!” (Act 3, page 77) Joe Keller is a man who struggles to cope with the fragile state of his conscience which is conflicted between his own understanding of his actions and their consequences and his failure to realize the extremity of his own ignorance. During a furious conversation with Kate, Joe Keller ferociously defends he was not responsible for the cracked cylinder head and the death of twenty-one men in the war, therefore it’s not considered a crime. Joe Keller was the one who told his employee to send out the broken parts even though he knew that the airplanes would undoubtedly crash. However, Keller thought no one would blame him because his reason is “he did it for his family.” In Joe’s speech in Act 3 he insists that there is nothing more important than the relationship between family, and the relationship between father and son. Keller says “It’s got to excuse it… I’m his father and he’s my son, and if there’s something bigger than that I’ll put a bullet in my head.” (Act 3, page 77). Joe Keller’s fierce defense of his own actions is very interesting. It shows insight on how Keller himself feels about his own actions. His justification of his family truly shows his desperation for the validation of his own crime. Keller justifies his actions using family to the extent where we can almost believe that there really is nothing more important than family. For that reason, this desperate plea from Keller to Kate to not blame him, or hate him is very significant. It shows the true state of Joe’s conscience; he is fully aware of the consequences of his actions and he carries the guilt for it. When Keller insists upon reasons for the crimes for his family is not considered murder, he is really only desperately trying to find justification for what he did. However, Joe Keller’s apparent understanding of his crimes greatly contrasts and emphasizes his own ignorance. Not all people believe that family can excuse everything we do. While defending his own guilt, Joe questions Kate and states “But he wouldn’t put me away though… He wouldn’t do that… Would he?” (Act 3, page 77). Keller know very well that he is a guilty man, excuses such as family won’t make