| Quote #1
A year later, in the Wall Street Crash, Bobby lost everything he and mother had, with the exception, apparently, of a magic wand. (2)
There is emphasis on reinvention in the story. By reinventing himself from stock-broker to art dealer and appraiser, Bobby shows Jean that identity is not stable, but rather a flexible tool that can use to effect success, or failure in life.
| Quote #2
It was the move back to New York, nine years later, three months after my mother died, that threw me, and threw me terribly. (2)
This is probably the single event that most impacts Jean's identity. It creates a new identity, and simultaneously pushes him to expand his child's identity into something more
| Quote #3
I informed him, in French, that he was a rude, stupid, overbearing imbecile, and that he'd never know how much I detested him. (3)
This moment foreshadows his later highbrow rudeness to his art students, though the mildness of Jean's French curse suggests he isn't comfortable with being so negative. Maybe he becomes a grumpy guy because he is frustrated, sad, and lonely.