| Quote #1
Keller: Don't look at me like that, he didn't tell me any more than he told you. (1.286)
Not true, Joe! He knows full well that Chris wants to marry Ann. But out of fear of losing his wife's support, he evades confrontation with her.
| Quote #2
Keller: That's the only way you lick 'em is guts! (1.446)
Joe has just recounted his version of the story of his crime, concluding with a victorious stroll back into the neighborhood after his exoneration. A kind of false courage. Real courage would have been acknowledging the wrong he did – or, in the first place, holding life more sacred than a profit.
| Quote #3
Mother: All right, Joe. Just…be smart. [Keller, in hopeless fury, looks at her, turns around, goes up to porch and into house, slamming screen door violently behind him. Mother sits in chair downstage, stiffly, staring, seeing.] (1.623)
In this last line of Act 1, the stage directions give us an idea of how the Kellers handle extreme challenges. Joe throws a tantrum and goes in the house; Kate sits outside processing and preparing. She's the more intelligent and stronger of the two, as we come to see. Does that make her more or less guilty than Joe?