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Chris is equating "practical" with "self-interest." His father didn't accept blame for shipping out faulty engine parts out of self-interest. It would cost him his job. Chris never faced the possibility that his father was guilty because it would have complicated his own life. His mother did the same thing. And so he avoided thinking about it so he would not have to take action.
Chris is comparing what he did to what he should have done. He recognizes that he has a higher responsibility, not just to his family, but also to the soldiers. As an officer in the army he accepted this responsibility. He is troubled by the realization that his father had a responsibility only to himself and his family. He was practical.
Chris has to make the decision to put aside being "practical" and do what he has to do, despite pressure from his family.
Chris know is practical unlike himself when he first came back from the war, he was idealistic (because he could not live his live again because he saw his men dying for each other in battle). At that time Chris could jail his father if he knew that he was the criminal, but after he stayed three and half years in joe's house and used his money he made himself practical, so he could not jail his father. Chris's morals have been changed.
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