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In Chapter 10 Gene refers several times to the icy crust of snow cracking beneath his...

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In Chapter 10 Gene refers several times to the icy crust of snow cracking beneath his and Leper's feet. Why?

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It is a symbol of his innocence crumbling away as he walks through it.

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He is realizing that his sense of self is untenable. What he thinks he is is in total contrast to what he has done. If he is shaken in his perception of himself, then he cannot trust his own reactions to what is done around him. The "jounce" came from somewhere inside himself.

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