Mama seems to set the precedent for the family’s miscommunication, rivalry, and disagreement. The hostility between Sister and Stella-Rondo has its roots in Mama’s own troubled relationships. When Stella-Rondo forbids Sister to speak Shirley-T.’s name, it echoes Mama’s forbidding of anyone to speak of her cousin. Furthermore, Mama easily perpetuates lies among the family members, even though, at times, she suspects or even knows the truth. For example, she reprimands Sister for suggesting that Shirley-T. is Stella-Rondo’s biological daughter, but she herself wonders how Stella-Rondo could possibly prove that Shirley-T. is adopted. Later, she links Shirley-T.’s silence and strange behavior to Mr. Whitaker’s consumption of chemicals, suggesting that she knows that Mr. Whitaker is, in fact, Shirley-T.’s biological father. Rather than not understanding the split between reality and fiction, Mama merely prefers one version over the other. She would rather believe that Stella-Rondo is virtuous than believe she is a girl who has had premarital sex. Mama’s desire to deny the truth ultimately proves more damaging to the family’s relationships than the truth itself would have been.