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5. I could write down only this: “I wish I could love someone so much that I would die from it.” And then a great wave of shame came over me and I wept and wept so much that the tears fell on the page and caused all the words to become one great big blur.

These are the final lines of the novel, and they demonstrate the despair and isolation that Lucy continues to feel despite the progress she’s made. In many ways, Lucy has achieved the goals she set for herself upon leaving home. She lives in her own apartment, she has a decent job, and, by sending a letter with a false address, she has solidified the distance between herself and her mother. However, Lucy still lacks true intimacy with other people—though by the end of the novel she recognizes just how much she needs intense human connection. This acknowledgment reveals her maturation and suggests the possibility of future change. Lucy also admits that the dearth of love in her life results from her own shortcomings. By wishing she could deeply love someone, she implies that she can’t, and the shame she feels also suggests her strong sense of blame for her own loneliness. While Lucy’s assumption of responsibility for her own plight may mark a positive step for her, this quote ultimately casts a dark mood over the conclusion of Lucy’s journey toward independence, with Lucy in tears that obliterate her mournful expression of growth.