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Jerry does not exploit the narrator's own vulnerability by exposing his own need and making her feel responsible in some way for his distress. He could have "played pitiful" by making it evident that he was an abandoned child who desperately needed someone as a surrogate parent. Instead, he bears his cross alone and does not attempt to "reel her in" as a mother substitute. What happens after she learns the truth is not known, but in the meantime Jerry has not imposed upon her a moral obligation to step in on his behalf or to commit herself to taking on this maternal role.
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