In order to survive their strange and somewhat dangerous childhood, throughout the book Jeanette and her brother Brain scavenge for resources and food. In the beginning of Section 14 they are doing just that and during their hunt they stumble upon a diamond ring among a pile of trash. Together the two young siblings hurry the bring the ring back to their mother in hopes that she'll pawn it for food and clothes. However, after bringing the expensive ring back to their mother she decides to keep it in order to replace the wedding ring that their father had pawned. Although the ring would have helped the Walls's more if it were sold, boosting the mother's self confidence did make her seem happier and encourage her to clean. Jeanette seeing that her mother was in a particularly good mood, decided that she would introduce her plan to improve her families life, which consisted of her siblings and her mother becoming independent from her father and his drinking habits. This notion, scandalizes her mother and even after Jeanette lists the benefits of leaving her father, her mother refuses. After Jeanette's confrontation, Mrs. Walls never tells her husband that his favorite child had suggested that they leave him and as summer begins Jeanette moves past her hope and instead focuses on ways to beat the heat. Since Jeanette and her family weren't well liked in Welch she felt unwelcome at the towns pool where the kids would claim that she was a "health epidemic," so she and after a particularly bad experience at the pool with Brian she decided not to return to the community pool. However, later that summer she is invited by her friend Dinitia to swim with her in the morning when all of the African American people swam and Jeanette agreed, at first feeling uncomfortable but eventually being welcomed by them more than she was ever welcomed by white kids. After being in the pool, the same afternoon a man from child-welfare arrived in order to see if Jeanette and her siblings were being abused or neglected by their parents and although the Walls children were most certainly neglected Jeanette refuses to answer the man in order to keep her family together. This encounter later encourages Jeanette to continue to push her mother to get a job until she finally cracks later in the chapter.
"What do you thing it's worth?" (Walls 186).
"Probably more than the house," (Walls 186).
"But Mom, that ring can buy us a lot of food," (Walls 186).
That's true, but it could also boost my self esteem. And at times like these self esteem is more vital than food," (Wells 186).
"I can't believe you would say that!" (Walls 188)
"Mom, you have to leave Dad," (Walls 188).
While scavenging in the woods, Jeanette and Brian find a diamond ring among some wood. Hoping to sell it, they take it back home.
When Jeanette and Brain bring back the diamond ring back to their mother, hoping that she will pawn it for money, she decides to keep it instead for her own selfish purposes.
"They're not here," (Walls 193).
"I'm with child welfare, and I'm looking for either Rex or Rose Mary Walls," (Walls 193).
"So what are we going to do?" (Walls 195).
Frustrated and tired of her life, Jeannette asks her mother to leaver her father, realizing that with out her Dad to suck away money for booze, the rest of the family might have a chance at a better life. Her mother scandalized by the thought refuses.
"I'll get a job Jeanette!" (Walls 195).
Jeanette gets invited to her town's pool by her friend Dinita. At first Jeanette feels uncomfortable because she was the only white girl there, but eventually she goes on to have one of her best experiences in Welch.
An anonymous neglect tip leads an social service agent to their house to investigate. Fearing being separated from her siblings, Jeanette refuses to answer any of the man's questions, despite the fact that he might have been able to give her a better life.
After telling her mother about her encounter with the social worker, she again tries to convince her mother to get a job. Eventually her perseverance pays off and her mother reluctantly agree's to go back to teaching.