The use of the first-person narrative by the story's Mrs. Johnson is especially important to the plot's development because her voice represents the past, and the respect and dignity that it should be afforded, most particularly as it applies to the sacrifices and challenges faced by previous generations that have allowed Dee to move out successfully into the world.
Mrs. Johnson and her daughter Maggie live in a house that is not much better than a shack.
It is three rooms, just like the one that burned, except the roof is tin; they don't make shingle roofs any more. There are no real windows, just some holes cut in the sides, like the portholes in a ship, but not round and not square, with rawhide holding the shutters up on the outside.
Maggie is shy of the world—especially new people—because of scars she suffered as a child when the previous house burned.
How long ago was it that the other house burned? Ten, twelve years? Sometimes I can still hear the flames and feel Maggie's arms...
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