Summary and Analysis Chapter 34



This chapter opens in the past with Steve making an unannounced visit home during a tour to surprise Kim. By chance, he passed by a restaurant where Kim and Brian were having lunch. Steve observed the casual comfort that his wife shared with this stranger, but the touches and kisses revealed that he wasn't a stranger to Kim. Instead of confronting his wife and making a scene, Steve returned to Penn Station to catch a later train to Richmond. When he called his wife that evening, he didn't mention what he had seen.

As Steve waits for Ronnie and Jonah to return to the hospital, he remembers the images of his discovery of the affair and of his father's emaciated body. Although he has no desire for Ronnie to see him that way, he knows her mind is made up. And he is afraid. Steve has been praying regularly for the past few weeks. One of the things he prayed about was his children's futures.

He also realizes that he is seeing Jonah for the last time. Jonah also realizes that he is saying goodbye to his father and cries inconsolably. Steve uses the stained-glass window as a tangible symbol of his love. He tells his son that the light shining through their window — or any window at all — will be a sign that he is still with him.


Steve's reaction to Kim's affair reveals much about his character. He demonstrates the depth of his love for Kim by never telling his children about her affair. It is also telling that Steve has been praying for his children and not for himself. Even as he nears the end of his life, Steve's attention is on his children and their comfort instead of on his own.

Steve tells Jonah that his presence will continue in Jonah's life as long Steve stays alive in Jonah's memory. Steve also teaches Jonah something about faith — that "the Father is always with you, if you have faith, if you look for the light."