As said at the end of yesterday’s post, John’s constant exposure to Elly seems to be corroding his character and doing a number on his decency. An example of this is how he reacted to the following exchange:
Panel 1: John holds a jam-jar full of change in the air and asks Elly what it’s for.
Panel 2: Elly sheepishly states that she saves it from the grocery money so she can spend it on things she needs.
Panel 3: John points out that he’ll give her money for whatever it is that she needs; all she has to do is ask.
Panel 4: He’s taken aback when she says that she knows that but, by doing things her way, she feels that she’s earned it.
His confusion stems from his being what they used to call the Great Provider back in the day; in the post-war years, this figure made sure that his family wanted for nothing by answering their every need as soon as it was expressed. He went to work, paid his dues and carried the weight for his wife and children. John, as we’ve seen, started out as this dull, grey and benign figure; Elly’s constant reminders that she thought that he wasn’t taking her seriously had a destructive effect on all. He wound up believing that he shouldn’t hand out money to any of his family because they would thus feel demeaned and that his wife, who raised the kids and should know, was right to assume that the children owed them all the money they spent on them; this made Elly feel good about her false economies and entry-level jobs but it was sort of tough on his kids who’d rather not have learned the value of a dollar THAT early in life.