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Josephine knows well the painful legacy she has inherited. Her mother had
to choose whether to save Josephine’s life or try to save her grandmother’s, so
Josephine’s birth depended on her grandmother’s death. She feels a bond with her
grandmother and her mother as a result of the rituals her mother made her take
part in at Massacre River, even though she has never understood them. Josephine
is awed by her mother’s rituals and stories, and she has absorbed them more than
she realizes. When Jacqueline visits her, Josephine asks questions that only a
fellow performer of the rituals would understand. Despite the strength this
tradition gives her, Josephine feels overwhelmed by the depressing world around
her and helpless to change it. She doesn’t know how to connect with her mother,
perhaps because she is ashamed of her inability to help her. She attempts to be
strong by hiding her profound sorrow. Though she cannot express it, Josephine
highly values her relationship with her mother and the tradition of which she is