Dae Hyun sends Daniel to get ice for his swollen lip and berates Charlie. Daniel sits down in the stockroom with an icy can of Coke, wondering why he postponed his interview and let Natasha leave. He wonders if she's right and if he does just want someone to save him. When Daniel hears his dad on the other side of the door, he opens it. Dae Hyun, genuinely confused, asks why Daniel thinks it matters what he wants. He says that all that matters is doing what's best so that Daniel never has to work in a store, as that's how Daniel will achieve the American dream.
Dae Hyun's frank leveling with Daniel shows that his greatest fear for his sons is for them to struggle financially. This reinforces what the novel has already implied: for Dae Hyun, the American dream is tied up entirely in ideals of financial success, and one's desires have little to do with that. This also underscores that Dae Hyun is not passionate about his store—it’s merely a means to get by.
Daniel is shocked; this is the most Dae Hyun has said to him at one time. Daniel is extremely curious why his dad wants the things he wants for his sons. Dae Hyun continues and wonders if he made it too easy for Daniel and Charlie, since they never grew up poor. Daniel feels like he almost knows his father and decides to tell him that he doesn't want to follow his plan. However, when Daniel opens his mouth, his dad cuts him off and says that if Daniel doesn't go to Yale to become a doctor, he can pay for his own college.
Dae Hyun's drastic ultimatum makes it clear just how important it is for him to see Daniel follow through on Dae Hyun’s version of the American dream. In a way, Daniel does get to know his father through this conversation, as Daniel has the opportunity to understand that his dad isn't a bad person for wanting these things for him.
Daniel puts his jacket back on and moves to the front of the store. Dae Hyun tells him that the relationship with Natasha will never work out, but Daniel insists it will. Dae Hyun tells Daniel to do the right thing and holds Daniel's gaze for a moment. Neither are sure what Daniel will decide to do.
The fact that Daniel isn't sure what he's going to do suggests that he's becoming more comfortable with the possibility of determining his own path, both in terms of his academic future and of Natasha.