Ruth May describes lying down with her mother and looking at the world sideways. As she lies down, she thinks about her secrets. Ruth May secretly wishes that Nathan would leave and never come back—but only Jesus knows about this. Ruth May has a dream in which she sees a huge tree, at the top of which sit the Tribes of Ham, the African peoples of the world. She also sees Orleanna, who is thinking about animals. Ruth May concludes, “sometimes when you wake up you can’t tell if it was dreaming or real.”
As Ruth May accepts that she’s afraid of her father. Her dream is confusing in a couple different ways. Once again, Ruth May seems to identify with the “cursed” children of Ham. She’s also interested in the idea of progress, symbolized by her climb to the top of the tree. It’s as if Ruth May’s innocence gives her access to a kind of mystical, spiritual truth (as we’ll see in the novel’s Epilogue).