I would really like to paint them one of my brooding oceans but they would miss the point I am sure of how the ocean looks strong and beautiful and sad at the same time and that is really something if you think about it.

In chapter 14, Ellen says this with regard to Nadine and Dora's shallowness and materialistic values. She knows that they will not see the beauty and depth that she sees in the ocean and opts to paint them a picture of cute, cuddly kittens instead. Ellen is fascinated by the ocean's immensity, as she is with most things that strike her as mysterious, like heaven, and feels a strong respect for so powerful a force. That Nadine and Dora will not understand Ellen's painting of the ocean speaks to their vanity and shallowness. Unlike Ellen, they are only concerned with themselves and how they appear to others. They put up a facade of wealth and prosperity to impress others and trick themselves into believing their lies are true. Ellen is disgusted by this, and though Nadine and Dora are unfailingly condescending to her, Ellen seems almost to pity them and their pathetic self-deceit.