1. When Palmer opens the door on his birthday and finds Beans, Mutto and Henry there, he is elated. Why? Who are these boys? What do they represent in Palmer's life?
When Palmer sees the three boys, he feels they are finally including him in their group. This is important to Palmer, as he wants to be "one of the guys." He realizes they are cruel and brutish, but he wants to be tough and part of a gang of boys on his street.
2. For his birthday, Palmer gets an old apple core, an old sock, and a cigar butt from his new friends. What makes these gifts special? How does Palmer react to his mother's gifts?
The old used things the boys give him are proof to Palmer that they like him and want to include him in their gang. He knows the boys took time to think about what old thing to give Palmer. When Palmer's mother brings out her gifts: a soccer ball, Monopoly game, a book and a new pair of sneakers, Palmer is thankful but says to himself that the boys' presents are worth as much as hers to him.
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