Ellis Burden is much like Cass Mastern in that he seems to be trying to expiate some sense of guilt, to atone for some sin, in his work with the poor and unfortunate of the city and in his religious fervor. Furthermore, Jack can understand his father and his father's motives no more than he could understand Cass Mastern. Of course, Jack had all of the relevant information about Cass Mastern, but he — and the reader — do not have all the facts behind his father's decision to leave Jack and his mother. Even if Jack did have this information, however, he would not be able to understand his father's actions and motives. Jack must grow in knowledge and understanding before he can begin to comprehend what his father has done; he must be shocked out of the protective psychological shell he has built around himself. Jack's attitude toward his father is basically hostile, at least on the surface. For example, Jack tells
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