Chapter 33 marks a very emotional and difficult time for Tom and a time in which his memories continually haunt him, despite his best efforts to repress them. However, his memories persist throughout the novel and form a major theme in the novel. His memories also become a powerful element in his struggle to define himself. Of Tom's feeling toward Red's old ranch, Borland writes, "He was a stranger here. He had always been a stranger. All he had here was a hatful of memories. And what did the memories mean? Nothing. Less than nothing. They were like scars. You looked at them and remembered the old hurts that had healed over."