From his post in Europe, Robert writes formal letters to Tom, Mrs. Ross, Peggy, Stuart, and even the family’s dog, Bimbo. The letters are laid in a velvet box in the Ross’s parlor, next to Robert’s framed portrait. Peggy treasures her letters from Robert, while Stuart makes his into paper airplanes or trades them with schoolmates.
The image of Robert’s portrait and letters in his family’s parlor is visually similar to an altar where people pay tribute to the dead, suggesting that his family is already beginning to grieve him. Having already lost Rowena, they are preparing themselves for the trauma of losing Robert as well.