Pages 175-176 Summary

During Dot’s first summer, Celestine brings her daughter to work with her every day. The little girl, placed in the padded bottom of an old shopping cart, either sleeps or sucks on her fingers as she watches her mother. Sometimes Celestine directly meets her daughter’s eyes, stunned by the intensity of Dot’s gaze. She picks her up, almost ready for the infant to begin speaking to her. Once Dot makes her body rigid, making it clear she does not want to be held, Celestine puts her back down.

No matter how exhausted Celestine is, she feels a “nerve of excitement running through each hour.” Everything which is common seems strange, almost as if she is experiencing them in a dream. It is Dot who has caused this transformation in Celestine’s world.

This little girl has become Celestine’s life, and her love for Dot hangs “around her in clear, blowing sheets.” Dot finally sleeps through the night and past her normal feeding time. While the sleepy child nurses, Celestine imagines a tiny white spider making a nest on her daughter’s head. It is nearly transparent and moves quickly, throwing its invisible filaments and then catching them again as it weaves.

Celestine watches the complicated web being formed, a “complicated house” which Celestine cannot bear to destroy.