In the beginning of chapter fourteen, the narrator fixates on how Mary is serving cabbage for the third time that week, revealing that “cabbage was always a depressing reminder of the leaner years of [his] childhood.” (296) This is one of the few times that the narrator mentions his past before attending college, after talking earlier about his grandfather, and it is this rare memory that seems to lead him to a “quick sickness” (296) with the conclusion that Mary must be short of money, on account of his not paying rent and board. It is unclear whether Mary is really short of money — she does later tells the narrator that he doesn’t have to worry about paying yet — and so the cabbage scene depends only on the narrator’s account, reminding the reader that the narrator has a unique history and corresponding personality that shapes the narrative. The narrator even says later that he “seemed to be haunted by cabbage fumes,” (298) which further supports the sense that his past is affecting how he perceives the present and, in turn, how we as readers are viewing the scene.