Ruth May is confined to bed, where she has feverish dreams about black children playing with her in the night. She sees Nathan yelling, “God will know the difference,” and she sees Rachel falling to the ground.
Ruth May is becoming more and more alienated from her father, and the line between reality and dreams is blurring for her as well.
Ruth May wakes up from her delirium and sees Nelson sitting in front of her. Nelson tells Ruth May to place her “spirit” inside a tiny matchbox. There’s a picture of a lion on the side of the box. Nelson explains that this box will protect Ruth May’s soul, so that even if her body dies, her soul will be fine.
We think that this is really happening, but it’s also possible that it’s just a dream. Nelson introduces a spiritual side into the novel—from hereon, Ruth May will be heavily associated with spirituality and mysticism.