After Nancy fails to hold the children's attention, she becomes obsessed to keep them with her. She believes their presence will keep her from death, or at least prolong its inevitability. So completely terrified that she does not even notice that her hand rests on a hot lamp globe, her fear makes her impervious to physical pain, and her emotional stability is strained by Jason's constant crying to go home.
Nothing seems to work for her. The popcorn popper breaks, but once she fixes it, the popcorn will not pop. The normality that she so desperately craves is interrupted by a smoking lamp, which she has turned up too high, hoping that the strong light will keep Jesus away. When the popcorn popper falls in the fire and Jason gets smoke in his eyes and begins to cry, Nancy realizes that the end is near. Breaking out in a profuse sweat, she pleads with the children to stay or to let her come with them back to their house.
She becomes almost hysterical as she senses her impending doom. Physically, "sitting there above the fire, her long hands dangling between her knees," she gives up all hope of fighting off what she now considers inevitable. Quentin notes that she is an emotional wreck: "Then Nancy began to make that sound again, not loud . . ."