Ellen's mama's mama, her grandmother, is sitting near her and leans over to call her father a "bastard." Ellen reports that her mama's mama is fairly wealthy, though she gives her nothing and acts as if she doesn't even know Ellen. Her mama's mama has a reputation for being insane, and, during the funeral service, she curses Ellen's father with the utmost rage and vehemence and eventually storms out of the church.

It is raining at the graveyard, and the sight of her dead mother again disturbs Ellen. She questions why she must watch her mother's body disappear before her own eyes, like magic, as she has already seen more than enough at the church. After the burial, numerous people approach Ellen and offer their consolation. One gives her a dollar. The undertaker, or the "smiling man," as Ellen calls him, warmly offers her a ride home.

At her new home, Ellen no longer has to "worry about snakes," as Dolphin will scare them away for her. She spreads a blanket on the ground and makes a little camp for herself and the pony. Having forgotten her book, all there is for her to do is lie back and watch the trees rock back and forth, lulling her to sleep.


The issue of race relations and racial tension becomes more evident in Chapter 4, when the funeral train passes through a "colored town" on its way to the church. Nadine, Ellen's aunt on her deceased mother's side, is so fraught by their presence in a "colored town" that she locks her car door, unlocking it only when they have driven past its borders into a town that is distinctly wealthier and distinctly whiter. Ellen reports her aunt's racist neurosis matter-of-factly and does not express her own feelings about race, though one can infer that she is far less narrow-minded than her aunt.

While driving through the wealthy town, Ellen dreamily considers stealing a garden fountain she sees on someone's lawn, not because she is a thief, but because she wants a piece of that fortune and happiness for herself, a piece of it to take home with her and cherish. Understandably, Ellen wants the kind of life that she imagines the families who inhabit these houses live routinely: a life of love and happiness, which she knows she deserves. Driving past the pretty houses and neatly groomed lawns only reinforces Ellen's hope that someday, she will live with a loving family who can appreciate her for who she is.

It is raining at the graveyard during her mother's burial, an allusion to the "storm" Ellen prophetically mentioned in Chapter 1. Throughout the book, nature, weather, and water, in particular, will develop into recurring references and symbols. In this case, the "storm" is representative of sorrow and pain, and, as it does in Chapter 1, it also represents Ellen's inability to control the sequence of nightmarish events to come. The rain that falls during her mother's burial is only the beginning of the storm that Ellen must weather for the next two years, as she will be passed from one home to the next, until the storm eventually passes with the meeting of her new mama. Nature is also called upon as a symbol when Ellen mentions that, in her new home, she no longer has to "worry about snakes," which, of course, represent the fear and suffering she underwent in her old home.