How do students respond to Hardy's portrayal of the boy evolving into a 'young smooth-shaven' man?

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I find this story incredibly sad.  To me, it is about how a son became so selfish that all he cared about was himself.  His mother sacrificed everything for him, and he would not let her have anything.  If he had let her marry, she might have been happy.  In the end, he wins.  She doesn't.  Hopefully this story will help kids realize that their parents are people too, and deserve to have lives of their own and be happy on their own, without sacrificing their entire lives for their children.

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