A Death in the Family

by: James Agee

Important Quotations Explained

He felt that sitting out here, he was not lonely; or if he was, that he felt on good terms with the loneliness; that he was a homesick man, and that here on the rock, though he might be more homesick than ever, he was well. He knew that a very important part of his well-being came of staying a few minutes away from home, very quietly, in the dark, listening to the leaves if they moved, and looking at the stars; and that his own, Rufus' own presence, was fully as indispensable to this well-being.

This excerpt, taken from the Chapter 1, describes the moments on Rufus and Jay's walk home from the movie theater when they sit for a few moments on a rock and enjoy the silence of the night and each other's company. Rufus seems happier in this moment than at any other point in the story. This quote also demonstrates how sensitive Rufus is; he can sense how important these moments are for him and his father to share in silence. Feeling a part of this unspoken completion of something inside both father and son gives Rufus a sense of peace.