President Strand loves her son. My meeting with her confirmed this beyond any doubt. The question, I believe, is whether or not Sam perceived his mother's love. Both Sam and the President talk about the Beach as though it were a real, physical place, but I remain convinced that it does not exist--that it is a shared delusion, and that Sam and Amelie's so-called "visits" are mental constructs. Sam would not necessarily be of this--especially if it had been "planted" in his mind... Such an explanation would fit with his claims that he has never been able to visit the Beach of his own volition. 

What if, subconsciously, Sam has developed an attachment to or longing for the Beach--one that parallels his feelings towards his sister and mother? Furthermore, what if they have all become, in essence objects of veneration? Upon further consideration, it is not so hard to imagine. President Strand is an exceptional woman who exhibits panromantic qualities--as does her daughter Amelie. This is surely one of the reasons why they have been able to commit themselves so completely to the cause of American reconstruction, their one true love. Sam, on the other hand, I have diagnosed as demisexual. His sexual desires are strictly limited to those with whom he has formed an emotional connection--excepting family members like Amelie of course. 

It is only natural to more highly regard those with whom he develop intimate emotional connection. For children, this can lead to veneration. Yet there is also an inherent contradiction in this, for divinity is distant by nature, even as we yearn to grow closer to it. I have come to the conclusion that this contradiction is at the root of Sam's aphenphosmphobia.

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