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The answer can be found in Chapter Five of this novel. In this chapter, we are introduced to Geraldine, who is a woman who devotes herself to a cold existence, making sure that she performs her functions as a mother and a wife, but with no evident love or satisfaction or pleasure. The only thing Geraldine spends her time doing is making sure she looks as perfect as possible and that her skin is as pale-coloured as she can make it.
The only one thing that she loves is her cat. Although she has a son, Junior, all she does is make sure that he is kept fed, warm and clean, making sure that his hair is straight and his skin is pale just like her own. She never related to him as a normal mother would her child by hugging him and embracing him and showing him herlove for him. This is because she reserved all of her emotional love for her cat. Junior very quickly understood that the cat was the repository of her mother's affections, and as a result he grew up with the constant awareness that the cat was receiving what was his by rights. This is why he would torture the cat at any opportunity and this explains the cat's eventual fate at his hands.
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