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The presence of Lucy's mother, and her childhood, in her mind haunts her while she is in America. In an effort to silence her mother's voice, Lucy refuses to open any of her mother's letters. Likewise, when the bonds and obligations towards her family in America become too strong, she severs those as well by moving into her own apartment. As Kincaid illustrates Lucy's attempts to detach herself and develop an independent identity, she questions whether or not complete detachment is possible or desirable. At the end of the book, Lucy expresses a desire for attachment: "I wish I could love someone so much that I would die from it."