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In chapter 5 in the novel The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux:

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Chapter 5 Summary Tiny Polski visits Allie at home to discuss a possible resolution to a dilemma. Polski's asparagus crop must be harvested, but his cold storage unit cannot accommodate any more produce. Unwilling to sell the asparagus he is storing, waiting for a better market price, Polski asks Allie to devise a means of refrigerating a portion of his barn for additional storage Space. Allie begins a diatribe which fluctuates between criticism of Polski and veneration of his own ideas. He criticizes his employer for wanting to make a profit, suggesting that Polski is exploitative, and challenging his ethics. Polski attempts to keep Allie on track when Allie suggests a grand plan which would involve the construction of a larger scale Worm Tub. Polski insists he needs a more practical, immediate solution. Allie becomes increasingly more insulting and belligerent, until Polski finally warns him, "You're talking yourself out of a job, Mr. Fox" (39). Allie haughtily dismisses the threat, attempting to pull Mother into the conversation. When Tiny Polski leaves, Charlie, listening from another room, detects a sense of sadness and resignation in Polski's tone, and Charlie expresses empathy for him.

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  1. Why is Polski not selling his asparagus?  How does Allie react, and why?
  2. Why did Allie refuse to help Polski with his cooling system at the end of Chapter Five?  What does this reveal about Allie?

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