Warner exquisitely captures the torture of wanting something different, something more, but being aware that anything “more” or “different” will only ensure that you find yourself completely shut out. And moreover, that you will feel bad about it yourself because you have failed in some way.
Being a person, in this world, is a failure. It is a failure to be always and ever living up to what one should be doing, which, after all, as Lolly achingly feels over and over again- isn’t such a problem when someone just wants you to wind the yarn, or just help mend this one sheet. But eventually the dust settles and Laura (who tries and tries again to emerge from behind Lolly) grows so tired of it that taking to her bed ill for two weeks is a blessed relief- all the understanding of her desire to do nothing (which is the only coded way she can express her real desire for independence) that would not have been there otherwise is hers. It offers even more understanding of the “fashionable” invalid of the era.