In "Selling the General", the reader is introduced to the main character of the chapter, Dolly. When Egan first describes Dolly's character, the reader can easily connect to Dolly's life, whether or not they too are stay at home mothers or simply a parent who is working hard to support their family. The reader is easily able to develop a sense of empathy for the main character because they themselves are in the same or a similar position. However, empathy later turns into commiseration toward the end of the story as the reader learns of the events that happen to Dolly that lead to the present in the chapter.
The first description of Dolly that makes a connection between the reader and the story is when the narrator speaks of, "...faxes [that] usually came at around 3:00 a.m., waking Dolly and sometimes her daughter Lulu." A working mother would easily be able to identify with this part of the story, as she could know what it is like and how hard it can be being a single parent trying to support her child. It is not until later in the chapter that the reader finds out the truth behind Dolly. The narrator begins telling the story of Dolly's downfall from the infamous La Doll, "La Doll was gone." When the reader learns of the events that led to Dolly's current state of living, he starts to feel pity for her when imagining what her life could have been like had she not had her opulent party on that fateful night. Because of this previous discovery, the audience begins to wonder after reading how different Dolly's life would be had she not, "gaped in frozen disbelief as her guests shrieked and staggered," the night of her party.