| Quote #1
Man knows so little about his fellows. (2.39)
So much of the novel is driven by secrets – Christmas's racial secret; Joe Brown's secret family; the truth behind Hightower's marriage, and so on.
| Quote #2
Then the town was sorry with being glad, as people sometimes are sorry for those whom they have at last forced to do as they wanted them to. (3.18)
The town exerts enormous pressures on its citizens.
| Quote #3
…it did seem that in a small town, where evil is harder to accomplish, where opportunities for privacy are scarcer, that people can invent more of it in other people's names. (3.19)
Gossip is malicious in the novel; Hightower and Joanna Burden are both victims of Jeffersonian gossip.