One of the rules that Robert's father drilled into his head while he was growing up was that he if he ever killed something, he had to eat it. This rule was in place to show Robert the sanctity of life, and not to take the lives of other beings lightly. Robert's father was true to his word, making Robert eat such things as insects and birds that Robert purposefully killed. These events traumatized Robert. When Robert is a young man, one of these meals is so traumatic that Robert has to figure out how best to show his father that the rule may have its place, but that the strictness in which he carries it out makes the rule meaningless.