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All My Sons

All My Sons

  

by Arthur Miller

Dr. Jim Bayliss

Character Analysis

Jim Bayliss is world-weary doctor in his forties. He lives with his wife, Sue, next door to the Kellers. Jim has sweet memories of his idealistic youth:

"[…] one year I simply took off, went to New Orleans; for two months I lived on bananas and milk, and studied a certain disease." (3.25)

But he gave all that up. Now he runs a private practice and makes a good bit of money off of laid-up hypochondriacs. Like many of the characters in All My Sons, Jim ducks responsibility and blame. Thank his wife for his return to suburbia, he says, "She came, and she cried. And I went back home with her" (3.25). Jim is a good neighbor now, looking in on Kate when she's ill, picking up George in Act 2, and looking for Chris in Act 3. But he feels lost; "it's even hard sometimes to remember the kind of man I wanted to be" (3.25). Jim has no illusions about his own morality, and he makes no judgments about Joe's. He's always known about Joe's guilt, he nonchalantly confides to Kate.