This short story strikes me as very unusual. Death surrounds this classroom and makes the children question what makes life important. I feel bad for the children in this story. They are obviously younger since they are experimenting with trees and animals in class. I feel as though they shouldn't be bombarded with death as they are in this story. It seems to come from all directions whether it's as insignificant as trees or as crushing as a parent or family member. It's almost unfair that they would have to make sense out of these circumstances at such a young age. I think if I was a child in this story, I would be questioning the school itself too! It's almost as if there was a curse put on them when in actuality, they are just suffering from life and bad luck. I think the children do a lot of growing up in this story which is scene by how they almost start expecting things around them to die. I think they really begin to see how life brings bad circumstances sometimes with no warning.
I think the scene with Helen is important because I think it marks the point where the children realize that the only thing in life that is worth investing in is other people and relationships with them. I think the children see something eternal and meaningful in intimate relationships with others. However, I think they are too young to really know and understand what that means because they have not intimate relationships with others at this point in their lives. Therefore, they want to see an example of that intimacy. I think the children are desperate for something good and pure that is full of life since death surrounds them everywhere they go. The children even say, "we require an assertion of value, we are frightened."