1. Henry Junior is mentally unsound because of his experiences in Vietnam. How does Albertine realize this?
2. Who bought the red Oldsmobile convertible?
3. Who owns the red Oldsmobile convertible?
4. Why does Lyman damage the convertible?
5. Does Lyman’s damage to the car and deception about how it happened have the effect he wants?
6. What do Henry Junior and Lyman have a fistfight over? Why?
7. How does Henry Junior die?
8. What in particular makes Dot want Gerry to return to her?
9. If Gerry is so good at escaping prisons, why is he always recaptured?
10. What act of Gerry’s causes his maximum-security incarceration? What reason could he have for doing it?
1. Henry Junior drinks too much, talks to himself, and has nightmares. When Albertine touches him at night, he reacts violently, and then cries.
2. Lyman’s money bought the car, but he and Henry Junior purchased it together.
3. Lyman and Henry Junior share the car equally until Henry Junior leaves to join the Marines. However, when Henry Junior goes off to war, he throws Lyman the keys and tells him to take care of it. Lyman thinks of it as Henry Junior’s car while Henry Junior is gone, and that notion of ownership is reinforced when he sends the car into the river after Henry Junior disappears in the waters.
4. Lyman is trying to spark some activity and emotion in his brother. Henry Junior’s TV watching and immobility is too much for Lyman, and he thinks that the memories of the car are strong enough that Henry Junior might be moved to action if he saw the car in a bad state.
5. Lyman’s manipulation does work, in one sense. The damaged car rouses Henry and gets him to work on it and be active. However, Henry Junior is not fooled, and it does not “save” him.
6. Henry Junior tries to give the car to Lyman, but Lyman has seen how his brother has been able to focus on something for several weeks. Lyman does not want Henry Junior to regress to his previous state, so he refuses the car. Angry with the blank, stoic, confused and dangerous Henry Junior, Lyman hits him. Henry Junior fights back.
7. Henry Junior leaps into the river, which is flooded and swollen. It is unclear if it is suicide or drunken foolishness.
8. Dot is pregnant and does not want to go through the pregnancy or the birth alone.
9. Gerry’s sentence has been extended because he keeps breaking out of prison. He believes that he has been sufficiently punished for his initial offense and does not comprehend or agree with the idea that he needs to finish yet more time for it. Yet he is lackadaisical about being recaptured because he does not believe himself to be guilty, thus he does not act guilty and so does not hide well. Also, because he can always break out again, prison is not the threat and punishment it might be to others.
10. Gerry shoots a cop while resisting arrest. This is the first time he has ever resisted arrest, and it’s probably because the baby gave him a reason to want to stay out of prison.