Verna's condition illustrates the ease with which one can slip between the cracks in today's United States Bush's rhetoric about the "ownership" society is meaningless to the individuals and entire communities who feel disowned by their country.
And yet, desolation offers its own illumination: "Overhead, the lights seemed to flutter, and for a moment she worried the whole world might disappear. But in fact nothing happened; the world remained as it was. There was no thunder. No lightning." We can read either hope or despair into these lines, but it would be folly to think the two are more than a few inches (or votes) apart.