One of the major themes of these four chapters is that, for Esther, life is mostly like the day after Christmas, a day when she usually feels "overstuffed and dull and disappointed." The promises of Esther's young life too often turn out to be unsatisfying. She has adored Buddy from afar, yet his kisses do not affect her when he finally shows an interest in her. In short, Esther does not seem able to find a relationship with honesty in it, and she cannot even enjoy dating in a superficial way. Yet she is driven to want to date men — perhaps mostly because of social convention, but also because she is embarrassed to study in her room on Saturday nights. When Buddy is in the TB hospital, that relieves her of an obligation to date. For a brief time, she is happy not to be bothered with social plottings. But, if on one hand she is driven to date, Esther can't stand Buddy for his hypocrisy. Yet she needs
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