Miss Tyler again explores family connections in terms of compensatory stress and balances, necessary exclusions, and the loneliness of outsiders resisting absorption. Mrs. Emerson is the vortex of the Baltimore Emerson family, a widow "wearing pastels, holding out smooth white hands with polished nails," to receive her intermittently returning seven children whom she controls with charged verbiage: "Oh, everything she said nowadays was attached to other things by long gluey strands. . . touching off chords, opening doors."
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