Miss Stuart often has the students do art projects, and when the boys draw crude drawings, she admonishes them that they’re too smart to make such pictures. When Miss Stuart asks the students to draw what they do after school, Elaine panics. She begins to draw her bedroom, but then covers the picture in black. She expects a reprimand, but instead Miss Stuart puts a hand on her shoulder.
On Valentine’s Day, Elaine gets more cards from boys than Carol, but she is too afraid to tell her friends. She believes boys are secretly her allies.
Carol grows breasts before the other girls and won’t stop talking about them. She steals one of her mother’s old lipsticks but gets in trouble when her mother catches her wearing it. She proudly shows off the marks from the whipping her father gave her.
Elaine wakes up one morning to find that her mother has gone to the hospital. Stephen informs Elaine that their mother had a baby that came out too soon, but Elaine doesn’t understand how this is possible.
Elaine dreams that Mrs. Finestein and Mr. Banerji are her real parents. She dreams that her mother had twins, but only one appears, a strange gray baby. In another dream, her house has burned down. In yet another, her parents sink helplessly into the earth.
One Saturday, Elaine’s father brings her, Stephen, and Stephen’s friend to a public exposition at the zoology building. In one room, a loudspeaker plays the sound of a dead turtle’s still-beating heart. Elaine gets trapped in the crowd and faints. She awakens outside and realizes that she can use fainting in order to lose time.