The passage of time is also marked by the mold that has sprouted on the chestnuts and the beaver carcass in the attic. The image of the chestnuts Jack spent a miserable winter shucking now covered in mold is profoundly sad. For all of Jack's hard work, no thing has been gained. Like the chestnuts, Jack's youth and energy have wasted away, all because Dwight has made a point of showing off his power over Jack. Jack also reports that the two feet of mold that are growing on the beaver are eerily reminiscent of its living form, as if the beaver has returned from the dead to haunt Dwight after he has deliberately killed it with his car. Dwight has robbed the beaver of its life out of cold blood in the same way that he robs Jack of his freedom and happiness for the sole purpose of wielding his authority.

Jack equates going to Paris with the opportunity to recreate himself, which he has yearned to do throughout his boyhood. However, it seems that whenever the opportunity for such self-recreation is presented to Jack, it is quickly removed again by Jack's o wn bad actions and choices. Jack's opportunity to recreate himself in Paris is not completely unfeasible, but Jack simply cannot agree to change himself so drastically that he would have to renounce his mother. Rosemary has been the only constant in Jack' s life and Jack therefore cannot abandon her. Jack overcomes his disappointment over not going to Paris as he usually does, imagining himself there among the cobblestone and sidewalk cafes, using fantasy to repair the disappointment of his reality.