When I was reading the end of the book, I was struck by the fact that Deck Lee was so into his own world that he couldn't take even a moment to find out what had happened to Birdie when he was Brazil. He was just so conceded on his own studies and his book that was about to be complete that he didn't realize how much she had changed.
I was also quite stricken with the chart “canary in a coal mine." Who would put their children in a chart that showed the history of mulattos and how "desolate or violent" their deaths were? That puts them as a scientific object instead of real people. It also was odd how he mentioned that one of the female girls didn't have a birth certificate so they didn’t know how old she was when she died. Then under the picture of Birdie and Cole, he puts the years that they were born.
It saddened me to watch how he would pick his book over his family. That he truly didn't care and waited until the end of their conversation to ask how Sandy was.