In these sections, Walls contrasts the relationship Mom and Dad have with their children with the one that exists between them as wife and husband. When Dad gives the children stars at Christmas, the stars act as a metaphor for what the family values. For instance, when Dad assures the children their stars (and planet) will outlast the cheap gifts that other children receive, he not only distracts his children from their poverty, but also provides them with a moral system: material things do not matter — what matters is the beauty of nature, the kindness between individuals. This moment of tenderness, however, contrasts with the scene of Dad using the car to chase down Mom. Dad is consistently kind and understanding with his children; he and Mom have a more tense relationship. While both Dad and Mom are quirky individuals, they do not share the same quirks. Dad, a talented engineer and mathematician, is
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