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Among Perry's personal papers is a letter from his sister, Barbara. Barbara is Perry’s only surviving sibling; his brother Jimmy and sister Fern have both committed suicide by the time the narrative opens. Barbara lives a comfortable life with her husband and three children in San Francisco, and scolds Perry for his irresponsible lifestyle and disrespect towards their father. Accompanying her letter is a commentary by Willie-Jay (“Impressions I Garnered from the Letter”) in which he proposes that Barbara is limited not only by her conventionalism, but by her own frustrations and insecurity related to their family history, and is therefore incapable of empathizing with Perry’s situation.