"Yes, I think so, in some ways. One wonders," he
said carefully, his light brown eyes resting on Dicey's face, "if there
isn't a strain of—mental weakness."
Was he reading her mind?
"Your grandmother's isolation—she has no phone, so the
priest drove out from Crisfield to talk with her. She wouldn't let him into the
house. She apparently screamed aloud so that she wouldn't hear what he was
Dicey remembered Momma's strangeness and James's idea that
craziness was inherited.
"I mention this to you because I want to tell you that,
if it can be inherited, you have probably not inherited it. In my opinion,"
Father Joseph said.
"Are you sure?"
"No, of course not. But remember, you've already been
through more trials than most people endure in a lifetime. You and James, you
two at least, seem to have the strength and resilience to go on. Isn't that
what sanity is?"
"I don't know," Dicey said. (1.11.53-60)
If Momma broke down
because of their tough circumstances, Father Joseph could be onto something
here. Dicey and James obviously have what it takes not to go out of their
minds, but Maybeth and Sammy are having a tougher time adjusting to the
difficult stuff in their path.