One Saturday, Grace informs Elaine that she and the others will come to meet Elaine. Elaine goes outside to meet them, but Cordelia scolds her that they didn’t say she could come out to meet them. Elaine vomits and has to go home.
Armed with this new way of avoiding her friends, Elaine fakes being sick so she can stay home from school. She reads women’s magazines while she lies in bed and sees that no matter what women do, something about them will be imperfect.
Spring returns. Elaine carries her cat’s eye marble in her pocket so that she can hold onto it. She believes it allows her to see what it sees. In her "cat’s eye vision," people become images that she can look at dispassionately.
After school ends, Elaine’s family goes north so her father can do fieldwork, much to Elaine’s relief. One day, she finds a decaying dead raven and pokes it with a stick because she knows it won’t feel anything.
Stephen sets up chess problems and identifies butterflies in his butterfly book. Elaine’s mother makes chokecherry jam, which is so red it looks poisonous.
Elaine dreams that the raven is alive but still decaying. In another dream, her dress doesn’t fit, and her body bulges out. Her cat’s eye marble falls from the sky and hits her, and it’s icy cold. She’s trapped on the bridge above the ravine as it crumbles, but the bridge has become detached from the road where people watch. She makes chokecherry jam, but the chokecherries become deadly nightshade and the jam becomes blood.