Again, our narrator is a foreigner struggling to understand the world around her. Although she is a linguist and comfortable with words, she does not know how to interpret other modes of communication and expression. This is quite evident when she is dealing with the Esaleyons and she cannot find a way to describe their gestures and ways of life. She found that “listening to them was like gathering water without a pail” (61). The underground inhabitants “never ceased explaining the shape and nature of things, but did so in too twisting a narrative to become memorable” (61). She cannot grasp the inherent themes of the new world and her interpretations remain superficial. Her translations are literal and she fears what she cannot understand. This is often the struggle of moving through a world that is foreign.