Specifically in this episode, the ten-year-old Annie becomes obsessed with death. On the one hand, her obsession arises from the fear of death, on the other hands it is simple curiosity. In the first section of the chapter, Annie learns that children can die. In the second section, she describes in detail the death of Nalda, whom Annie knew. Annie's description of her fear of death suggests the powerful spiritual beliefs of people on her island, thinking that death or death people could hurt you- as seen with the girl who stops sucking her thumb because it may have touched water that touched a dead person. While Annie may be afraid of death, her curiosity about it leads her to describe morbid details in a humorous tone. Upon learning that the hunchback died, for example, Annie laments the fact that she never touched the hunch on the girl's back to see it if was hollow. Likewise, when Annie sees the dead hunchback girl at the funeral parlor, she compares looking at her to looking through a View Master. Annie's not entirely gentle thoughts about a dead person are typical of the voice of a ten year old, which simultaneously adds a comic touch.

The relationship between Annie and her mother starts to be developed in this chapter. Annie's mother is a powerful woman who teaches Annie about death and who even has the powers necessary to prepare a dead girl for the grave. Annie's fear of her mother's hands touching her after that preparation foreshadows Annie's later dread of her mother's touch as their relationship falls apart. Similarly, Annie's failure to bring home the fish as she was supposed to foreshadows her future disobedience and conflict with her mother. At the end of this chapter, Annie and her mother still feel tightly connected, however, and despite her promises to do otherwise her mother sends Annie to bed with a kiss.