Lack of Control
Dulcie becomes afraid of things that she cannot control. She is afraid of freeways because she cannot always get off of them when she wants. She is afraid of having another baby because she cannot make sure that it will live. In an effort to regain a sense of order and control, she tries to find logical explanations for the terrible things that have happened to her. Charles notes: “Dulcie needs things to be exact. You have to explain yourself clearly when you’re around her.” When their baby died, she kept trying to find a reason, thinking that it must have been her fault. She needed someone to take the blame, and if it turned out to be her, she could accept that because at least she would have an answer, something that she could fix in order to prevent the same thing from happening again.

When their car is stolen, Dulcie stays up all night going over what happened, wondering why their car was picked and why the men had not shot them. She finally concludes that nothing about the incident makes sense. Since she cannot find a logical explanation for the carjacking and for their getting away unhurt, she feels that she does not have any control over her own safety and so tries to do everything she can to make herself more safe. She leaves the lights on so burglars will think they are at home, and she wants to buy an inflatable man to put in the passenger seat so other motorists will think she is with a man and then will not attack her. Charles goes along with her desperate need for control until he realizes that she will never be able to attain it. In an effort to break them out of the cage she has put them in, he gently persuades her to take a chance on the future without knowing what may happen. By the end of the story, Dulcie begins to accept the fact that she cannot control all of the aspects of her life and that knowledge causes her to reconnect with Charles and to take a chance on getting pregnant...

(The entire section is 541 words.)