In Part 3
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After learning so much about Perry’s early life, we are now offered Dick’s story. His criminal (or “antisocial”) tendencies are in some ways harder to explain than Perry’s, or at least, they don’t have roots in childhood neglect. Dick has a solid home life, and genuine affection for parents and brother. Economic duress seems to have played a bigger role in determining Dick’s chosen path, but the decisive event seems to have been a head injury he received in a car accident, after which, according to his father, he “wasn’t the same boy.”
Dick’s mother makes a comment about Perry that again foregrounds the topic of homosexuality: “I wouldn’t have him in the house. One look and I saw what he was. With his perfume. And his oily hair. It was clear as day where Dick had met him” (169). Although this is not always the determining element of Perry and Dick’s relationship, it continues to surface and inflect the reader’s perception of events. And in this case, it renders Perry a social outcast; whether or not we choose to believe that the men are romantically involved, homosexuality functions as a symbol of Perry and Dick's larger alienation from conventional society.
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