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Quotes

Quote #4

Durn lucky kid. She could run after him and grab him and kiss him. It made Jess ache inside to watch his dad grab the little ones to his shoulder, or lean down and hug them. It seemed to him that he had been thought too big for that since the day he was born. (2.39)

Jess is jealous of his siblings because he feels like their dad is more loving and affectionate with them. They get the attention he craves. Yet he has to act like a "man," which seems to mean here that he doesn't get hugs and can't spontaneously demonstrate or ask for physical attention or reinforcement.

Quote #5

Lord, it hurt his guts to realize that it was Brenda who was his blood sister, and that really, from anyone else's point of view, he and Leslie were not related at all. (6.5)

We can see here that Jess's feeling about what constitutes family and whom he's closest to in the "real world" doesn't jive with what an outsider might think when just looking in. Brenda, his actual relation, would seem closer to him than his dear friend Leslie, even though that's so far from the truth it's laughable.

Quote #6

It wasn't one of those big sets that they advertised on TV, but it was electric, and he knew his dad had put more money into it than he should have. But the silly cars kept falling off at the curves until his father was cursing at them with impatience. Jess wanted it to be OK. He wanted so much for his dad to be proud of his present, the way he, Jess, had been proud of the puppy. (6.43)

Poor Jess and poor Jess's dad. Even though this present cost more than the Aarons could afford, it's still relatively cheap: it doesn't even work that well. Because it's flawed, Jess's dad is embarrassed and angry: it points to how much money they don't have and how, even when they do more than they can afford, it's still not enough. Somehow, Jess was able to get around this and give Leslie a present that transcend categories of money, but his father has not yet learned how to do so.

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