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Mick and Harry Minowitz have sex in a fumbling, almost accidental encounter. They are so far from clarity on what they do that Mick seems never to reach the level of being able to articulate her feelings about it. It seems to be a very abrupt end of childhood boy-girl camaraderie. Harry’s tendency to cast everything in strict good/bad dichotomies means that he makes the sad decision to run away from home so his mother never sees what a bad boy he is. Mick reenters her house, sees that everything is exactly the same, and finds out that no one notices a change in her. McCullers was writing the novel at a time when people seldom talked about sex between teenagers and if they did talk about it, they did so in high moral tones of condemnation--much like Harry’s tone. Instead of casting it in that light, McCullers depicts it as one of the unaccountable accidents of life, one that changes the person intimately, but only on an individual, not on a social level.