| Quote #1
[…] in no time at all everything I touched turned to solid loneliness. (2)
Moments like this contrast the jokes, puns, and general hilarity of this text. This emotional roller coaster mirrors the one in Jean's head after his mother dies, and is part of what makes the story interesting to read.
| Quote #2
Following, I said, my wife's untimely and tragic death, of an ulceration cancereuse, I had earnestly thought I would never again set brush to canvas. (7)
This might be a clue that Jean's mother died of cancer, but definitely not proof. In the same breath that he turns his dead mother into his dead wife, he also claims he his grief has stopped him from painting. If we can believe him when he says he was productive during that period, we see this as an expression of his guilt over not being sad enough.
| Quote #3
It was a high, thin, broken moan, and it seemed to come less from an adult than from either a tragic, subnormal infant or a small malformed animal. (24)
Jean hears this sound every night when he is at the Yoshotos', as if life is hammering it in to him that other people are sad too. It is also a representation of an audible representation of grief.