The Kellers

Kate Keller (Mother)

Kate is a doting mother and dedicated wife. She is enamored with everything to do with her sons even to a point of obsession. She can use her motherly authority to hurt as well as is seen in the case of Ann.

She has been nursing a broken heart after losing her son Larry. But she refuses to accept his death as reality. She is also a victim of superstition and believes in miracles and fortune tellers. She tries hard to convince everyone else of Larry’s impending return.

Another aspect of her character is her strength in adversity as she bears the burden of her husband’s crime with a smile. She has kept the secret hidden deep inside her heart, in order to keep her family together.

Joe Keller (Father)

A devoted family man Joe’s world is limited to his business and family. He is not greedy but very protective of his family. He never received modern schooling or education so can be a little narrow minded in his outlook.

The biggest sin that lingers on his conscience is the lie he told to escape a prison sentence. His misdemeanor caused his partner and his family to suffer. He also indirectly caused the death of his son Larry and twenty one other pilots in the War. Having said that he always believed he did that only to preserve the interest of his family.

Chris Keller (Surviving Son)

Chris is described as a man of lofty ideals and incorruptible character. He is a war hero who believes in helping others and renounces the material lusts of a consumerist world.

He is a grieving brother but has taken the role of a responsible son to his parents. He disapproves of his father’s profiteering during War but is happy to survive of the same money. 

Even though he extols the virtues of honesty and truthfulness, he is found wanting of the same qualities at several places like when revealing about his and Ann’s relationship or when asked to send his father to prison etc.

Larry Keller (Dead Son)

Even though he is dead all throughout the actual plot, he plays a pivotal role in the story. He is more like his father than Chris, pragmatic and materialistic.

He understands the notions of his father and the demands of protecting their family business. But in the end he comes as the moral anchor of the story when he commits suicide to pay the price for the sins of his father.