- As I said for the previous chapter, trouble is brewing. Though Cal may not recognize it, why is he all the more justified in being nervous because of Aron's disinterest in returning to college?
- Why is giving a gift hard, but getting a gift harder?
- What triggers Cal's shame after Aron's request to move back dinner--something between Aron taking his day, and the jealousy?
- What evidence does Cal have against himself to indicate an enjoyment for this kind of self-inflicted torment?
- Is it possible for Cal to give Adam the money and expect nothing--to give it lightly?
- Why is Cal letting Aron buy the wine? While I think he intends one reason, and a beneficent one, there is a darker motivation (think rabbits) present as well.
- Why does Cal want--or need--the others to see the giving of his gift?
- This seems like stretching a metaphor to breaking point and shooting well beyond the author's potentially verifiable intentions, but let's do it anyway: what might be the allegory of Lee's turkey?
- What is deplorable, for Lee or Sam, about one man only possessing only one tiny wedge of the world, but having it entirely? "...a specialist is only a coward." If this is what Adam wants for Aron, what is Lee doing, intentionally or not, by this phrase?
- Aside from Scrooge and other misers, how is it that nobody wants money?
- "I hope he lives to a hundred." // "How do you know he's not a hundred now?" -- It's almost as if Steinbeck is a prophet anticipating Yoda....
- Is Cal wrong to give the gift at this moment? What is the inherent trouble--and kicking back to Lee's statement above--with gift-giving, especially extravagant gifts?
- Why is the gift repellent to Adam, and in a way that Cal couldn't have ever predicted?
- One more time: What is Aron's gift to his father? (And how does this seem to defy even the definition of "gift"?)
- Why does Cal try to make the tears come? Why are tears preferable to Cal?
- How is it that Cal has a choice but Adam did not?