Mrs. Ross insists that the rabbits must be killed since they belonged to Rowena, and Robert objects vehemently. He begs his mother to give them away or let him take care of them, but Mrs. Ross tells him not to be ridiculous and reminds him that he is a grown man. She gives Robert the task of killing the rabbits.
Mrs. Ross’s conviction that the rabbits must be killed reflects the human tendency to seek revenge in the wake of tragedy. By placing this responsibility on Robert, she further robs him of the innocence he lost when his sister died.