I'm a little confused with this theme.
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I think that the pain and misery, which can involve death, gives transference to life. T. Ray caused Deborah great pain in their marriage, enough that she ran away to the Boatwrights’ without Lily. Deborah’s pain thus began to lessen, but she died before having much chance to become truly happy. As a result, T. Ray and Lily absorb the pain of Deborah’s death. T. Ray takes out his pain on Lily, most vividly at the end of the novel, when he tries to hit Lily and calls her Deborah. Like her mother, Lily takes her pain and finds refuge with the Boatwrights. Lily, however, has the time to change her life. All her pain and suffering are transferred, at the Boatwright's farm, to a greater understanding of life and herself.