Fire returns as motif in these sections; additionally, more of Mom and Dad's characters are shaped by the action in these sections, namely Erma's death, the discovery of the diamond ring, and the welfare officer's visit. First, when Stanley burns down Erma's house, fire once again ushers in a series of difficulties for the Walls. For one, the fire indirectly results in Stanley's thwarted molestation of Jeannette. Recall that Jeannette was nearly molested before, when a stranger entered her Phoenix bedroom. These similar instances suggest how the family, lacking the relative security of middle class existence, is not only threatened by the elements and hunger, but also predation by other, more desperate people on the outskirts of society. Furthermore, Dad's reaction to Erma's death and Mom's reaction to the diamond ring and the welfare officer add depth to their characters. First, Dad's binge after Erma's
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