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Gertrude's son Matthew provides a stark contrast to Stephen's son Absalom—while both of them stray from the morality of their upbringing, Matthew compounds his sins by lying about his crimes and using Absalom as a scapegoat. Raised half-heartedly by Gertrude and not at all by his father, a mineworker who pulled a disappearing act, he lacks the moral compass imparted to Absalom by his father.

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