Die, by these Words

Livre or Die is officially dead after eight years of, well, living. What a life, as I leave you with the aptly bittersweet words of Philip Larkin:

Love, we must part now: do not let it be
Calamitious and bitter. In the past
There has been too much moonlight and self-pity:
Let us have done with it: for now at last
Never has sun more boldly paced the sky,
Never were hearts more eager to be free,
To kick down worlds, lash forests; you and I
No longer hold them; we are husks, that see
The grain going forward to a different use.

There is regret. Always, there is regret.
But it is better that our lives unloose,
As two tall ships, wind-mastered, wet with light,
Break from an estuary with their courses set,
And waving part, and waving drop from sight.

And Stoppard’s riff on the second law of thermodynamics:

“We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind.The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it.”

P1 Roundtable AMS Q1 Outline

‘I never felt at home anywhere but here.’ (Act Two)
Comment on the significance of
the past in All My Sons.

Trigger:
Concern-trigger – ‘the past’ 

Prompt quotation:
George speaking to Mother in Act Two, apparently having caved into her ‘seduction’ via nostalgia

Possible concerns / ideas:

  1. The past: both Ann and George Deever long for the ‘innocence’ and ‘harmony’ of the past.
  2. The past: the stasis that engulfs the Keller household, symbolised by Larry’s ‘presence’
  3. Truth / denial: Mother’s belief that Larry is still alive is a point of tension between Chris’s desire to move on; the letter overturns Mother’s belief.
  4. Denial and guilt: Keller and Mother’s revision of the past* – the various narratives that indict Steve as guilty, Joe as innocent.
  5. Denial and guilt: George arrives at the Kellers to uncover the truth behind the past*, to prove that Joe is in fact guilty.*Note that these last two ideas are less relevant than the first three, given the prompt quotation.

Methods:

  • The apple tree + Ann’s references to Larry’s room
  • The letter, and its revelation of the past.
  • Chris’s tone of frustration + railroad station metaphor (stasis)
  • George and Ann’s nostalgic tone + references to lack of change
  • Joe Keller’s various recounts (p32, 34, 70) that mark his own innocence
  • George as a symbol of ‘the past entering the present’ + his interrogatives / questions

Thesis:
The past infiltrates the present in the world of All My Sons, acting as a source of comfort and stability for the Kellers and both Ann and George Deever. In some ways, the past is reinvented to suit the needs of the present.

Yet, the interrogation of the past by George and later Chris in Act Two sets into motion the play’s tragic denouement. Upon learning the truth of Keller’s guilt and of Larry’s death in Act Three, the Keller family is undone.

P1 AOI Last Min Q2a Outline

Question
‘For all his aspirations and fantasies, Newland Archer learns nothing of reality.’ How far would you agree with this comment?

From Ms Aster

TS1: Archer’s aspirations and fantasies reside in the ideals of dramatic expression and originality that is independent from the dictates and shackles of Old New York

In order to present Archer’s aspirations we need to depict that which he is driven away from. (specific aspects of his current reality)

Possible evidence/points to use;

  • His contemplation of May as an ‘artificial product’ of society
  • His feeling oppressed by the ‘inexorable conventions that tied things together and bound people down to the old pattern’ (35).
  • His swelling dissatisfaction with the cold brutalities of his reality.
  • His aspirations to be more than a cog in the ‘powerful engine’ of Old New York (61).
  • His renunciation of social conventions, reflected in various images of conformity (‘dolls’, ‘patterns’)
  • His rebellious calls for them to ‘strike out for’ themselves.

*

TS2: His pursuit of a life outside Old New York is clearest in his attraction to the freedom, mystery and ‘adventure’ of Ellen Olenska.

How can we convey the extent to which Archer’s temptations to veer outside of society’s boundaries is largely embodied by Ellen and his reaction to her?

Possible evidence/points to use;

  • (i) Archer’s attempt to break away from the ‘narrow margins of life’ (103) in Old New York and seek a less ‘placid’, more ‘pleasurable’ experience with Ellen Olenska.
  • (ii) How are his encounters with Ellen depicted?
    -‘The blood rose to his temples’ (108); ‘His spirits, which had dropped at her last words, rose with an irrational leap’ (110); ‘Archer’s heart was beating insubordinately’ (110) ‘pleasurable excitement of being in a world where action followed on emotion with such Olympian speed’ (134)
    -the setting of Ellen’s house
    – Archer is increasingly buoyed by the imagination of all that Ellen represents to him, the embodiment of his fantasies of an alternate reality, stretching the distance between his actual circumstances.

*

TS3: However, Wharton suggests that Archer’s passion, elusively expressed from Chapters 8 to 15, are but romantic visions that are fantastical, unrealistic, delusory.

In presenting the frivolity of Archer’s fantastical romantic visions, how could you posit this against the unlikelihood of Archer learning about reality?

Possible evidence/points to use;

  • as ‘two lovers parting in heart-broken silence’
  • ‘Wherein, then, lay the resemblance that made the young man’s heart beat with a kind of retrospective excitement?’
  • Archer’s many flights of fancy: the cumulative use of ‘He felt’ (95, 126), ‘He imagined’ (113, 152, 155) and ‘He was beginning to think’ (112) marks out his delusions for the careful reader.
  • Our protagonist envisages himself as a valiant ‘rescuer’ (94) to the ‘pathetic and even pitiful figure’ (88) of the ‘helpless and defenceless’ Ellen (108).
  • The narrator’s presentation of Archer’s thoughts and perceptions.
  • The anaphoric repetition of ‘she was…’ and the enumeration of Ellen’s supposed vulnerabilities (‘young’, ‘frightened’, ‘desperate’, ‘humbling’) and Newland’s mastery over her unpleasant circumstances (‘pity’, ‘at his mercy’).
  • By deflating the sentimentality and drama of these visions, the narrator marks out how his visions are unrealistic, delusional and ultimately self-damaging.

*

TS4: Nevertheless, for all of the senselessness suggested by Archer’s aspirations against the landscape of his social world, he does in fact learn something of his reality and the inescapability of the ‘life that belonged to him’.

In what cases do we see Archer cognisant of the very strictures that hold him back yet decides to act against

his own understanding of ‘reality’?

Possible evidence/points to use;

i)Archer’s akrasia (the ancient greek term refers to a weakness or will or the state of acting against one’s better judgement)

– Archer astutely recognises that his predecessors ‘had dreamed his dream’ and chosen a ‘placid and luxurious routine’ over the ‘narrow’, Bohemian ‘margin’ he prefers.

*

TS5: Arguably, Archer does in fact begin to understand the necessity to sacrifice individual desires for the sake of collective interest, not only from the reminder that Ellen blatantly purports but also from the revelations he comes to acquire about the true workings of his society in Ch 33. Moreover his introspection in Ch 34, is a clearer indication of a man finally ‘at peace with himself’.

How is Archer keenly more aware than ever before about the ruthlessness and ‘conspiracy’ of his social world. What message do they make him understand? Does he immediately take this to heart and is simply bowing in submission?

  • The twenty-six year gap between Ch 33 and 34 facilitates the change from forced acceptance to contentment.
  • The reader encounters an older, more mature fifty-seven year old protagonist reflecting on how the ‘long years together [with May] had shown him that it did not so much matter if marriage was a dull duty, as long as it kept the dignity of a duty’.
  • The change in tone from disillusionment to enlightened ‘dignity’, ‘honour’ and ‘good in the old ways’ mirrors the change in Archer’s perspective towards his role.
  • A language of fulfilment characterises his eldest son Dallas as ‘the pride of his life’ (290) and Archer himself as a ‘good citizen’ whose ‘days were full’ and ‘were filled decently’ (286).
  • (how can we use these ideas to illuminate how Archer has learned something about reality?)

Paper 1 Last Minute Reminders

Download our handout for 2015 JC2 Lit P1 Last Min Session.

Obligatory nannying because we can, no, we must

  • H1 Lit / H2 Lit Paper 1 happens Monday, 16 Nov, 2pm. Please be in school by 1:30pm. One of our best students in 2013 missed the paper. Please find alternative means of making history, with thanks and love, Mr Lim.
  • Pack all your exam copies into your bag early. Check that you have the right copies before you leave the house, obviously.
  • If you conspire to ignore our sterling advice, the invigilators (not from our school, as you would have realised) will have extra copies of texts, which they can issue you.
  • The library will not have its usual arsenal of texts, as I will be transferring them to invigilators on Friday. If you feel uneasy about not having a copy in your hands before entering the venue, you can look for me before the paper and I will pass you unmarked copies of the text. Just make sure you bring your exam copy, and life will be that much easier for us all.
  • If your text is flagged out for illegal marking, don’t panic. The invigilator is likely to ask you if you want to keep your text (and risk an ‘irregularity report’). Let it go; the invigilators will provide you one of the library copies to use. (Don’t be stupid. This is obviously not a licence to leave your text at home.) In the past 5 years, nobody has had their text confiscated…. so please just double check with us.
  • The Age of Innocence is in Section B, Question 2. This is the first question after Section A (Poetry / Poetry comparison).
  • All My Sons is in Section C, Question 9. This is the last question in the paper.
  • For the last time, please learn to label the titles properly. Titles of poems should be placed in quotation marks (e.g. ‘Waves’). Titles of All My Sons and The Age of Innocence should be underlined (since it’s rather difficult to write in italics).
  • Please do not, do not, do not use AMS, AOI, TAOI, ONY as lazy substitutes. It makes you look stupid. Remember – your markers are not Singaporean bureaucrats who love their acronyms. Write the whole darn thing. How many times do you need to refer to the full title, or Old New York anyway?

Actual tips and reminders

  • We generally advise that you attempt Section A (Poetry / Poetry Comparison) first but it’s completely up to you. If you feel less confident about Section A, by all means leave it to the last. If the poems appear too daunting and you feel stuck, just leave it for later (like you would a difficult Math question). Things will get better later.
  • Whatever your order of questions, manage your time very strictly. Take absolutely no more than 1 hour 5 min. We have had one too many “definite A” students end up with a “B” or “C” because they did not complete one question. Don’t add yourself to the body count, please!
  • Don’t freak out if you see something unfamiliar. The terms used by Cambridge might be different from what we use (we’ve tried our best to ‘confuse’ you the past year), so negotiate the question based on the concerns and methods we have taught you. If an obscure question (a la last year’s AOI question on ‘money’) turns up, just move on and try to answer the other option. For the desperate, we have laid out the anticipated triggers and passages below.
  • Know your triggers and how to use them to generate relevant ideas. Most of this is detailed in the Last Min Session handout and summarised here:
    – For Section A, always ask yourself, ‘what is the persona’s attitude towards this?’ or ‘what does the persona feel about this?’ This is essentially perspective+tone and will guide you through anything: the persona in ‘Considering the Snail’ reveres the snail for its strength and purpose; the persona in ‘Men Improve with the Years’ laments his own loss of youth; the persona in ‘Identity’ is defiant about his own ‘tall, ugly’ nature.
    – For the Essay Question, the importance of the trigger is self-evident:
    (i) A character-trigger will demand that you identify relevant concerns; differentiate between open, expository questions such as ‘Discuss the role and significance of…’ from the more focused questions such as ‘Joe never accepts the consequences…’. The latter will limit your scope, which is not a bad thing.
    (ii) A concern-trigger asks that you immediately split up this concern into smaller parts, or ‘ideas’ (e.g. guilt can be sub-divided into Chris’s survivor’s guilt, Keller’s wrongdoing). This process should help you organise your essay… and select relevant characters / episodes already.
    – For the Passage-based Question, use the given trigger (character, character relationship, concern) to lock your focus:
    (i) A character-trigger here similarly calls for concerns relevant to the passage.
    — In The Age of Innocence, consider the narrator’s description and commentary on this character. If on Ellen or May, consider Archer’s perspective of her as well.
    — In All My Sons, try to focus on that particular character’s dramatic language and action first; you can examine this character in a relationship if you want to (e.g. ‘Chris’ as trigger, with one para dedicated to ‘Chris’s estrangement from his father’).
    (ii) A character relationship-trigger, likely to be exclusive to All My Sons, means that you are not writing about what Chris believes, or what Keller believes, but about how their beliefs clash within the passage. Keep in mind that “family relationships” is itself a concern — the main concern for such a trigger. A strong response would nevertheless be able to discuss how Chris’s self-interest (another concern) threatens his relationship with Keller, or how Keller’s moral blindness pulls him further and further away from his son.
    (iii) A concern-trigger has provided a few of you with headaches. We would suggest linking this concern to characters. It would be really strange if you had to begin every sentence with ‘Truth is presented…’ or ‘Social form is presented as…’. It is more natural to write about ‘George’s pursuit of the truth’ or ‘Archer’s detachment from his wedding’. Nonetheless, the concern provided shapes the ‘purpose’ or ‘why’ in each body paragraph.

Preparation over the weekend

  • Do spend an hour over the weekend “practising” a Section A (poetry / poetry comparison) question. You can write an actual essay… or just practise annotating and organising your analysis. When it comes to the unseen, practice is your best weapon.
  • Read your own essays and ‘sample’ essays from your peers / seniors, to re-familiarise yourself with essay structure (introduction, body paragraph W-H-Y)… and your own areas for improvement. It is always good to know what you have improved on and what you are strong in!
  • Read up on your concerns and methods on the two set texts, if you must. Again, practise planning an essay question response, or annotating a passage and write a PBQ outline — use Roundtable P1, the 2015 JC2 Mock P1 / Mock H1 or the questions from the Last Min Session.

Suggestions for extra practice on H2 P1 Poetry Comparison

  • 2011 Q1b (Endurance) p25 + 2013 Q1b (Grief) p29
  • 2009 Q1b (Waste) p21 + 2010 Q1a (Abandoned rooms) p22
  • 2014 JC2 Mock (Absence / Female body) p48-50
  • 2014 JC2 Prelim (Ageing / Unrequited love) p45-47

Anticipated triggers + passages (what might appear)

  • The Age of Innocence
    – ‘Ellen‘ is long overdue in either the essay question (as New Woman, foreigner being cast out, or as a ‘maturing’ protagonist in her own right) or the PBQ. I’ve been saying this for 2 years, so c’mon, damn it, just happen already.
    – ‘Archer / the bildungsroman’ has yet to feature in an essay question. The main character’s growth is a relatively common feature in essay questions.
    Old New York and social convention may still feature in the essay question. Few areas are left, but we have tried to prepare you for the role of women, the importance of social form and obedience.
    – The PBQ could well be relatively devoid of Archer and focus on Old New York exercising / enforcing their social norms instead: see the various dinner scenes in Ch 5, Ch 16, Ch 26 and to some extent, Ch 33.
    – If the PBQ were to stay centred on Archer, I would pick Ch 13 because it provides us the ironic narrator at her most prominent. The prompt there could indeed be “the use of narration” or something along those vague, vague lines.
  • All My Sons
    – After a long series of character-triggers, the essay question should shift to concerns: social responsibility / moral idealism… and self-interest / materialism (American Dream)… and truth / denial / the past are all likely. We’ve tried to prepare you with our Mid Year, Prelim, Mock and Roundtable questions!
    – Cambridge could still torture us a little: there might be an essay question on the supporting characters: Ann+George (self-interest, truth / denial, familial loyalty), Jim+Sue (material pragmatism, lost idealism, Greek Chorus to comment on the Kellers and reveal the truth to the audience) and maybe Jim alone (more about materialism, pragmatism and idealism).
    – For the PBQ, it would seem logical to go to Act Three (because Acts One and Two have been tested) and specifically on Chris alone, Keller alone or Mother+Keller. We will just list a few possibilities that you should already be familiar with:
    (i) Chris, Act Three (p86-88) – your Prelim question
    (ii) Chris-Keller relationship, Act One (15-17, 40-42) or Act Three (88-90)
    (iii) Keller, Act Two (52-54) – your Mock question
    (iii) Mother-Keller, Act Three (p83-84) – covered in lecture
    (iv) Truth and denial / Chris-George, Act Two (60-62) – Last Min Session
    (v) Guilt and deception / Keller / Keller-George, Act Two (68-70)

Bogeyman triggers + passages (what we fear), or a lame attempt at ‘jinxing the jinxes’

  • The Age of Innocence
    – I would safely rule out May for the PBQ as that appeared last year. It seems unlikely that May would return as the essay question… but it’s worth thinking about. Consider May’s role and significance in relation to social conventions (she conforms… and enforces) and the bildungsroman (she ‘leads’ Archer to fulfil his social duty).
    Surveillance / lack of privacy, social change / stability and money have appeared as essay questions before. There is nothing stopping them from focusing on the relevant passage-based questions: we have already anticipated Ch 33 and Ch 26. They might surprise us with Ch 3 (the Beauforts), Ch 7 (the van der Luydens) and Ch 14 (Ned Winsett). It would be exceedingly cruel if we get Ch 20 (M Riviere) or any other minor characters.
  • All My Sons
    – ‘Mother‘ was my bogeyman last year; I thought it would be funny if Cambridge lined up Chris (Specimen), Keller (2013) and then Mother (2014), and guess what, it happened. They have set a Mother question every year in either the essay or PBQ (Mother featured twice last year, in fact)…. Nevertheless, let’s just keep an eye out for the George-Mother sequence in Act Two (p62-64).
    – We would also want to rule out Ann for both questions as the two Mother-Ann episodes have already been tested. Nevertheless, just stay mentally prepared for a PBQ on Mother-Ann (revelation of the letter, Act Three, 84-86) and to use Ann as an example of destructive ‘self-interest’, an unpleasant example of the American Dream.

P1 Roundtable AMS Q5 Outline

‘The play presents a world of divided loyalties.’ How far do you agree with this comment on All My Sons?

Introduction
All My Sons is often criticised for presenting an ‘impatient’, didactic lesson on man’s responsibility towards his fellow men.
(Context) While the title evokes a simplistic sense of cohesion and community (for all men are ‘our sons’), the play itself unfolds to waves of contradiction and conflict. (Outline) Chris’s moral ambition does not endure, stirred by the promise of happiness with Ann and the guilt of protecting his father. His idealism sets him on a collision course against both his parents, particularly his father’s undulating family-first values. These loyalties and divisions ultimately send the Keller family hurtling towards tragedy, destabilising the idea that one can simply know that ‘there’s a universe of people outside and you’re responsible to it’. (Thesis) By presenting a world of divided loyalties, the play challenges its audience to look beyond devotion to any one ‘loyalty’. It urges us to find balance, however hard it may seem.

Paragraph 2
(What)
We ascertain as early as Act One that Chris’s brand of ‘Man for man’ responsibility, entrenched in a world of divided loyalties, is far from absolute. (How) The conflicting nature of Chris’s priorities is conveyed through immediate contrasts in his tone and vocabulary. (How) An undercurrent of shame is evident when he associates his father’s money with ‘loot’, which he felt ‘ashamed’ to take and ‘wrong to be alive’. He speaks resoundingly of his comrades’ selflessness and exalts ‘the love a man can have for a man’. (How) Yet, he unflinchingly promises ‘to make a fortune for’ Ann, professing that ‘I want you now’ and ‘I’m going to…’. The audience is likely to spot the shift to these self-centred declarations starting with ‘I’, and begins to doubt his credibility. (Why) Evidently, Chris Keller is constructed as a man of internal contradictions and divisions. He is less a Christ figure than he is a hesitant hero — a reminder that no man can wholly live up to the noble sacrifices… of dead men.

Paragraph 3
(What) Chris thus embodies ‘a world of divided loyalties’, more so than Ann’s self-seeking cunning and Jim’s sense of compromised idealism. His re-entrance in Act Three discloses to the audience that he is guilty of protecting his own father from the arm of justice, his split loyalties to both family and a ‘universe of people outside’ becoming even more disquieting. (How) The repetition of ‘yellow’ in his lengthy confession reflects this sense of turmoil, as he grapples with his own cowardice and deceit by doing ‘nothing’ about his father (87). (How) The self-loathing continues as bestial imagery is used to compare Chris to ‘cats’, ‘dog’ and a ‘zoo’; Chris cannot bear being torn between family and the wider community, and for that reason he can only ‘spit on myself’ in disgust (87). (How) His series of rhetorical questions reiterate this division in loyalties. Asking if and why he would ‘put (his father) behind bars’, Chris appears to acknowledge that he ‘cannot take it out on him’. Before the crucial letter sequence, Chris remains a figure divided between his fractured principles and his wretched father:

CHRIS. What? Do I raise the dead when I put him behind bars? Then what I’ll do it for? […] But here? This is the land of the great big dogs, you don’t love a man here, you eat him. […] The world’s that way, how can I take it out on him? What sense does that make? This is a zoo, a zoo! (Act Three, 88)

The same bestial images and self-loathing can be read as further evidence of Chris’s responsibility to society, as he continues to lament the loss of ‘honor’ and ‘love’ in a forsaken ‘zoo’. (Why) Yet, the play suggests that these internal divisions have taken a toll on Chris: the stage directions describe him as spent and ‘exhausted’ (86). This portrayal of Chris as a victim here provides no answers to the moral quandary, but only serves to ask the audience further questions about their own loyalties.

Paragraph 4
(What)
The Keller family becomes a microcosm of these ‘loyalties’ to society and family, as dramatised in the growing tensions between Chris and Joe. (How) The divisions in ideology is foregrounded by the clash of discourse. Chris employs an idealistic tongue of community and altruism, reiterating values of ‘responsibility’, living ‘for each other’ (38) and being ‘better’ than our baser instincts (91). On the other hand, Joe speaks about the primacy of family and how ‘Nothin’ is bigger!’ (83), emphasising the father’s duty to provide (77) and more tellingly, the filial loyalty of sons and daughters (32, 77). (What) Their staunch allegiance to their own beliefs prevents them from recognising — and appreciating — each other’s. (How) Miller’s stage directions towards the end of Act Two exemplify this antipathy: Chris is ‘deadly’ and ‘unyielding’ in his demands, whilst Keller is initially ‘insistent’, and later ’horrified at his overwhelming fury’ (76). (How) These tensions culminate in an incendiary physical confrontation at the end of Act Two. They circle each other on stage like predator and prey, ‘their movements now… those of subtle pursuit and escape’ (76). Chris explodes into violent rage both verbal and physical: he threatens to ‘tear the tongue out of your mouth’ and ‘pounds down upon his father’s shoulder’, shocking an already startled audience (78). (Why) The antagonism between father and son here embodies the damage done by their incompatible belief systems.

Paragraph 5
(What) The woeful divisions within the Keller family are extended by the conflict between Chris and Kate, where the former’s idealistic aspirations collide with his mother’s pragmatic desire to preserve what is left of her family. (How) This fierce loyalty is self-evident from both her name (as the mother and ‘guardian’ of the house) and her introduction as ‘a woman of uncontrolled inspirations and an overwhelming capacity for love’ (18). (How) Yet, it is her appeal for Chris to ‘protect us’ at the start of Act Two that characterises her staunch commitment to ‘us’ over society-at-large (44). (How) Subsequently, Kate’s ‘uncontrolled’ dedication to the family is pit against Chris’s personal desires, with both employing a series of ferocious exclamations at the end of Act Two. Each refuses in absolute terms (‘now I say no!’, ‘You’ll never’, ‘I’ll never’) to give way to the other and makes their own demands (‘till I do it’, ‘You’ll never let him go!’). (Why) Mother’s attempts to force Chris away from Ann and back into her definition of ‘us’ (which includes Larry) prove futile, driving the family even further apart. The Kellers’ conflicting intentions ultimately sink them deep into the play’s tragic vision.

Paragraph 6
(What) Only in the face of catastrophe do these divided loyalties come to a standstill. (How) In the play’s final scene, Mother repeatedly begs for Chris to relent (‘Didn’t you hear? It’s over!’, ‘What more can we be!’) and forgive Joe for his moral blindness (91). This instead incites Chris’s most fervent call to be ‘better’ and to be ‘responsible’ to a whole ‘universe of people’ (91). The deadlock here, like that between Chris and Keller, leads the audience towards a similar mix of apprehension and distress. (How) A reprieve from these unbearable tensions is earned, ironically, only when ‘a shot is heard in the housea tragic coda to the conflict between familial devotion and social responsibility. As a grieving mother comforts her grieving son in her ‘arms’, with tears welling but not streaming (‘almost crying’, ‘she begins sobbing’), their loyalties are momentarily put aside. (Why) In silence (‘Shhh…’), divisions fade to differences and the only loyalty left is that of family. Finally, we see mother and son stand together.

Conclusion
Bearing the weight of a father’s death and a family in mourning, the audience leaves the theatre with a heavy heart. ‘Loyalties’ have destroyed not just an individual, but also the relationships between mother and father, mother and son, father and son. The conflation of both loyalties to the play’s message — every man should be seen as All Our Sons — is compelling. However, it is a convenient truism; it is not easy to see loyalty to the family and society as one and the same. Like Kate and Joe, we ask ourselves if we can be better, and try in our own way to be a ‘Jesus in this world’ (89). Like Chris in the final scene, we wonder if our family should be our immediate priority instead… or if we will always remain divided.