- In Samuel's eyes, I believe there's no difference between the condition that brought about Una's death and the condition Adam is currently suffering. Consider the line: "But Samuel thought and mourned in the thought that the accident was pain and despair" (emphasis added).
- The parable of the fly cage: "He worked all day with a sharp tine pocketknife on a small block of wood, and when we came home from school he had carved a little face. The eyes and ears and lips were movable, and little perches connected them with the inside of the hollow head. At the bottom of the neck there was a hole closed by a cork. And this was very wonderful. You caught a fly and eased him through the hole and set the cork. And suddenly the head became alive. The eyes moved and the lips talked and the ears wiggled as the frantic fly crawled over the little perches. Even Mary forgave him a little, but she never really trusted him until after she was glad she was a girl, and then it was too late." What is the face, what/who is the fly, who are the children amazed by it, and who is Tom?
- Samuel is conflicted, whether he knows it or not, by the proof of his son, Tom. If by nurture you can make a pig into a quarter-horse, why can Tom never escape the shadow of his father and experience the sun for himself?
- Note for future reference: for Tom, there is no difference between physical death and the breaking of spirit, such as it was for Dessie.
- Samuel must not realize his contradiction with Tom, because the understanding of a similar contradiction--his falling under the spell of sadness when he claimed a real man wouldn't submit to such weakness--destroyed him, together with the event that revealed it.