Gilbert said “It’s gonna take a crane to get her out” to which Ellen cried “There’s gonna be a crowd. I just know there’s gonna be a crowd.”
At this point it is obvious that all of them are worried that the death of their mother would also be a source of her ridicule. They want to have a peaceful funeral for her and would not want to make her a laughing stock on her death. This was also a pivotal time where it is apparent upon the intensity of Gilbert that he will do just about anything to ensure that his mother’s honor will not be shamed. Though he said it matter-of-factly and without hint of remorse or discouragement, it is evident that the perplexity of the situation has caused him to think deeply.
Gilbert’s character is consistent with how his actions are in a manner his redeeming quality which further shows his love for his family and how he will take measures to protect them no matter what cost. He stands as the father figure and this extends not only to his younger siblings but generally as the dominant male figure in the whole household. His sister’s reaction, although primarily to circumvent mockery, is also geared for their protection and this is also reasonable since she is a teenager. The subtext of Gilbert’s confusion and his devised plan aimed at protecting their mother ennobles his action for the general good. His face is not a contradiction of his intent but a forthright characterization of his ultimate