The destruction of the meaning behind language represents Yolanda's inability to connect with other people in meaningful ways. Her failure to relate to John on deeper interpersonal levels is rooted in her distrust of his love, and his difficulty understanding her Dominican culture and heritage. Her cultural identity is represented by the Spanish language, which John cannot understand. When Yolanda points out that her name rhymes with sky in Spanish, she highlights the fact that he cannot access or appreciate her first language and her deeper cultural connections to the Dominican Republic.

The fragmented narration of this chapter reflects both Yolanda's disjointed thought processes related to her mental breakdown, as well as her fragmented sense of identity. Her national and cultural identity is split between the Dominican Republic and the United States, and her personal sense of self is also fragmented. This fragmented sense of self was brought on by the heartbreak of divorce, yet also indicates ongoing problems relating to other people. The bastardization of her name from Yolanda to Yo to Yoyo to Joe to Josephine throughout her relationships with John and her family members represents the dissolution of Yolanda's sense of identity. Her later insistence on being called only Yolanda reflects her desire to heal by integrating her various emotional and psychological parts.

The raven that emerges from her throat and attacks Dr. Payne represents her fears that language, and specifically her own words, could hurt the people she cares about. Her affection and attraction to Dr. Payne is threatened by the aggressive and ugly words that could come out of her mouth, symbolized by the bird. The bird freely moves from the room through the window screen, just as Yolanda might be able to freely speak her own mind if she were able to stop misquoting others. The allergy that she develops to certain emotionally charged words like love also symbolizes her fear of the damage she could do to those she cares about should she use language to convey her feelings.