- Values Dissonance: Freckles is convinced that he's unworthy of love or respect, because of his apparent bastardy ("Me, who has no name just as much because I've no right to any, as because I don't know it") and because, as he believes, his mother abused him, cut off his hand, and abandoned him. The Swamp Angel convinces him that he is deserving — not because he's a good and decent and upstanding man, although he's all of those things, but because possessing those traits means he must have come from upstanding, moral, and probably upper-class people. In the swamp, she points out, "thistles grow from thistles, and lilies from other lilies" — and Freckles, "a lily, straight through", "never, never could have drifted from the thistle-patch". His "tact and courtesy" must necessarily be "a direct inheritance from a race of men that have been gentlemen for ages", his musical talent must arise from having "somewhere in your close blood ... a marvelously trained vocalist". His courage must come from "the blood of a brave father", his determination "from a plucky mother"; and, disturbingly, his ability to love could not come from "hardened, heartless people, who would disfigure you and purposely leave you to die". Porter seems not to realize how close she's coming to arguing that an abused child is innately unworthy of compassion, because it comes from the tainted stock of abusive parents. It turns out Freckles really is descended from aristocrats, of course.
YMMV / Freckles