As Linda herself points out, she has no training for the life she has had to live as a mother. Filled with shame for having a baby and longing for her home, Linda wraps herself in a blanket of mescal and peyote, remaining intoxicated and barely aware of John and his needs as a growing young man. For John, she feels an intense mixture of love and revulsion, complicated further by her obsession with Pope. The strange quality of his mother’s feelings for him obviously has an effect on John himself, especially in his relationships with women.
After her long years of struggle and shame on the Savage Reservation, Linda throws herself into soma holidays, shortening her life by her addiction. At the end, for the confused, angry woman, death comes as a release, despite her terror.