| Quote #1
"Oh, all right. But I ain't got no money to give you."
Both of Mrs. Aarons' children are smarter than she is in this unfortunate moment. Ellie tricks their mother into giving her "five dollars" by telling her their father "promised" it – which for all we know, he most likely did not. Meanwhile, Jess silently corrects his mother's grammar. Both Ellie's and Jess's actions show role reversals in which they know more or are wiser than their parent.
| Quote #2
The Perkins place was one of those ratty old country houses you moved into because you had no decent place to go and moved out of as quickly as you could. He thought later how peculiar it was that here was probably the biggest thing in his life, and he had shrugged it off as nothing. (1.67)
In a rare moment of perspective that moves outside of the story's timeline, we hear from a future version of Jess, who's reflecting that this was a special, life-altering moment and he yet "shrugged it off as nothing" at the time. But that's normal, not "peculiar" – a lot of the time, we encounter ordinary events and don't realize how or in what way they might impact us later. That's one of the cool things about fiction – it allows this kind of double take and reflection on life.
| Quote #3
The reaction didn't seem to bother her. She stood there in front, her eyes saying, "OK, friends, here I am," in answer to their open-mouthed stares while Mrs. Myers fluttered about trying to figure where to put the extra desk. (3.3)
Leslie's innocence in this moment can also be read as purity. She's so open and ready to be "friends" with everyone in the room, even as their "open-mouthed stares" look back at her. She doesn't see those looks for what they can contain: mockery, disdain, and difference. She accepts them and expects to be accepted in return.