The gift of a winter apple, a whistle, and a piece of gum may seem trifle, but they are significant in the world in which the Peck family lives. The winter apple that Haven brings is one of the last of the family's stock from the previous fall's harvest, and it is only April. Along the same lines, the spruce gum that Robert gets for his trouble is the only piece of gum or any other candy that he eats in the entire book. The sumac whistle, while costing nothing monetarily, requires Haven to take time away from his full workday to soak and carve.

Robert's relationship with his father is given further depth at the end of the chapter when Robert remarks on the way his father smells. Haven butchers pigs for a living, which is a fact that Robert seems to resent from the way he describes the smell as "stale death." At the same time it is clear that Robert respects what his father does because it is Haven's hard work that sustains the family.

Robert's mother, Lucy Peck, is the very essence of love and care. She cleans Robert's wounds, sews him up, and comforts him when he is worried about his arm. She displays the same country wisdom that Haven does in her remarks, as when she tells Robert that she is, "preferenced to mend busted pants than a busted boy." Robert's Aunt Carrie, though a more minor character, shows compassion for Robert as well. She sponges Robert with lilac water, the smell of which distracts him from his pain while cleaning him.

The Peck family clearly puts their neighbor's interests before their own, as is made clear from Haven's dialogue with Mr. Tanner. As soon as he confirms that the bloody mess in Mr. Tanner's arms is Robert, he expresses his thanks and concern, saying, "We're beholding to you Benjamin Tanner, for fetching him home. Whatever he done, I'll make it right." Robert also displays this priority. In his first words after regaining consciousness, before saying anything about what happened to him, he asks his mother to tell Mr. Tanner to look for the calf on the ridge.

Despite being uneducated themselves, Haven and Lucy Peck place great value in education. In a touching moment when Haven is scolding Robert for skipping school, Haven reminds his son of how he wants him to be able to write his name at the bank in Learning. It is obviously a value that has been long engrained in Robert, as among his first words upon regaining consciousness are, "I didn't mean to skip school."