Arnold talks to Grandpa Phil about his declining academic performance and his lack of enthusiasm for his dream of getting a grade school diploma. When Grandpa Phil seems to give up, Arnold gets to the root of the issue and finds out that Grandpa Phil is scared that he'll fail. Arnold inspires Grandpa to continue pursuing his dream and helps him study to achieve it.
Helga's childhood was plagued with incidences in which she felt invisible and not cared for. The negative sentiments directed at her by her parents and those around her adversely affected her in the future.
Oskar tries to prove he can learn to read by memorizing the beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities." He brings attention not only to the beautiful juxtaposition of the prose but also the fact that he memorized the excerpt instead of learning how to read.