A CHAPTER OF TOM AND DESSIE:
"Tom's cowardice was as huge as his courage, as it must be in great men. His violence balanced his tenderness, and himself was a pitted battlefield of his own forces."
Tom and Dessie are so happy to be together because perhaps they're the two of the family who fit together most completely, especially now that she's broken, at least partially, like he is broken. She knows her brother, and she knows herself, and she knows somehow things--living--might work out better if they're together back on the farm. But she's no longer happy--truly happy--there, just like she was no longer happy in town. Why can't Tom fill the void that's dragging her down?
On the contrary, Dessie seems to be all Tom needs to be his old self again. He is energized and thrilled--on a perpetual high, fueled simply by her presence. But just as the bravest are the most cowardly, perhaps so are the strongest the most fragile. I think we can all read the writing on the walls. Dessie isn't going to last much longer, and then what will that do to Tom, who doesn't do well with loss (crazy understatement) in the first place?
Then there's the memory--the first piece of a montage of family flashbacks or hallucinations--of Sam buying up the white pigeons. It smacks of metaphor, but pinning it down is a little more difficult than assigning some direct correlation. It seems there's more at work here than that, like this is just one of many pieces that fit into a well-balanced machine. The pigeons are a sign of Samuel's refusal to give in to superstition, even if there are other supporting reasons for staying away, but the superstition is that of death, and did death not follow the pigeons into the family, even if not immediately? Finally, Dessie notices and remembers the pigeons as she approaches her own end in the presence of the brother who reminds her most of her father. Yet pigeons and any other flighted bird represent freedom, though these happen to be caged. If white pigeons are harbingers of death by one label, may they not be the same animals and yet be harbingers of freedom--and freedom not only of release but of impurity? Maybe Dessie and Tom are two white pigeons, brought to the farm by Samuel, now reunited, and soon to be freed.
I don't know.
Purple eggs, by the way, if not just a joke here, are fried eggs seasoned with sumac: