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Patty misses Anton but she religiously wears his ring around her neck. Patty goes to the department store after school and Sharon is putting on a little show for some of the Bergens’ friends. The spectators adore Sharon and Patty’s father says that he has thought about taking her straight to Hollywood.
Patty feels the ring has much beauty and power and decides to show it to Sister Parker. When Sister Parker asked Patty where she got the ring, Patty made up a story: She saw a man walking down the road, one day, who asked her if she could spare some bread. Patty claims to have taken the man home, to her back doorstep and fed him. After the man was done eating he gave Patty the ring because she was “obviously a person of value” (161) and he wanted to reward her with his most valuable possession.
Patty went on saying that the man was not really poor; he just pretended to be so he would find all of the good people in the world.
Sister Parker called over to Patty’s father asking him if the ring was really gold. He clearly had never seen the ring before and asked Patty where she got it. She told him the same story that she told Sister Parker. Patty’s father becomes extremely angry, thinking that the man had molested Patty. He calls her a “dirty girl” (165) and beats her in the middle of his department store.
Patty wears Anton’s ring around her neck, which is comparable to the cross that Ruth wears around her neck. Patty believes in this ring; she believes that it will make her a better, more valuable person. She often clutches the ring and kisses the ring in situations where she needs to regain her confidence. Throughout the novel, Ruth is also seen to clutch her cross to restore and show her appreciation in her faith. Therefore, Patty’s ring has become a religious symbol to her; it has also become the source of her confidence.
This is exemplified at the start of the chapter when Patty’s teacher catches her daydreaming in class. Patty apologized for looking out the window as Edna Louise was snickering and trying to get the class to make fun of Patty. The teacher praises Patty’s apology and then scolds Edna Louise. Patty has now realized that Edna Louise is “no person of value” (157) and at the same time seems to be gaining confidence in herself.
Patty’s confidence was shattered when she saw Sharon entertaining the local customers. They were all praising her and coining her as the special daughter. Patty once again feels devalued as a person. She tries to make herself feel more valuable by showing Sister Parker her ring and making up an absurd story. Sister Parker’s interest causes Patty to feel more important.
This gets Patty in trouble; Sister Parker brings up the ring to Patty’s father and he immediately wants to know who she got it from. When she retells her made-up story, her father becomes infuriated, thinking that a man molested Patty.
Patty’s fake story and insecurities is what causes the remaining events, in the novel, to unfold.