And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total? I will start and there will be an interruption and I will have to gather it all together again. Or I will become engulfed with all I did or did not do, with what should have been and cannot be helped.
In her monologue, the mother indicates the sense of incompleteness in herself and in her daughter. Their relationship has never been able to develop and flourish because the mother's financial situation prevents her from keeping the daughter except sporadically. When she is able to keep the daughter, Emily spends time in "the kinds of nurseries that are only parking places for children" because the mother must work. Even so, the mother tells the listener,
Now suddenly she was Somebody, and as imprisoned in her difference as she had been in anonymity.
But, the mother continues, "Let her be...Only help her to know--help make it so there is cause for her to know--that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron. So, although there are some limitations, there are also opportunities.