Chapter 2 Summary

Four years have passed since the death of Anthony, Jr. Dolores is now ten-and-a-half years old. The family has moved to a larger home, one of Mrs. Masciotte’s many properties. The move is good for Dolores. Her near-obsessive television watching is curtailed when she meets another girl her own age in the neighborhood, Jeannette.

Dolores has other reasons to avoid her home. Her mother’s postpartum depression has not abated. In fact, it has become more severe. She has developed obsessive-compulsive habits, such as counting the seconds that pass on the stove’s timer and answering the phone on a specific ring. Her largest obsession, however, is a pet parakeet that she has named Petey, a gift from Dolores's father in an effort to curb her mother's melancholy.

Dolores begins to resent the amount of affection her mother bestows on the bird. She understandably considers him a rival. Dolores decides to try to hurt her mother by refusing to kiss her anymore. She claims that since her mother kisses Petey on the beak, she is likely to contract a “bird disease.”

Dolores is beginning to have questions about sex, but her mother, wrapped in her own blanket of sadness, is not approachable. Dolores learns what she can via the imperfect knowledge of Jeanette, “eavesdropping, process of elimination, and filling in the blanks.” The two friends plan out their lives together: where they will live, their husbands’ names, and how many children they will have. The fantasy life makes them both happy.

One day, Dolores’s father comes home from work and announces a surprise. He is going to have an in-ground pool installed in the backyard. Dolores is ecstatic. Her mother, however, is panicked. Among her obsessions are children dying in freak accidents, and she is sure that a pool will soon drown any number of neighborhood toddlers. The adults get into a fight about the pool, and Dolores is told to go outside. She can hear...

(The entire section is 657 words.)