Like any good book or movie, the more sympathetic the characters, the more deeply the reader or viewer will connect and care.
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We are shown large (four children) hard working, honest farm family. THey made their money through hard work and built up a successful far. This is what America loves. Honesty, love, hard work and a farm is as close to the American definition of prefect that you can get. I think that is where the sympathy comes for this family when things go so wrong.