Families
Family dynamics are a central focus of this story. Neil?s working class family is portrayed in stark contrast to Brenda?s wealthy family. Much of the narration is taken up with Neil?s perceptions of Brenda?s family members, her household, and their family dynamics. His own family situation, living with his aunt and uncle, since his parents have moved to Arizona, serves as a backdrop for the foreignness of Brenda?s household. Neil gains further insight into Brenda?s father?s perceptions of his work and family when he sees Mr. Patimkin at his place of business. Brenda?s brother Ron?s wedding to Harriet Ehrlich is described in terms of a characterization of the relatives and Neil?s interactions with some of them. Throughout these interactions and observations, Neil attempts both to compensate for his ?lower? class standing and to envision himself becoming a member of the Patimkin family.