5. Ya know, you can’t keep him runnin’ away from things that hurt him. Sometimes, you just gotta stay there and teach him how to go through the bad and good of whatever comes.

Eva, upon first meeting Mattie in Mattie’s chapter, offers Mattie this simple piece of advice on how to raise her son, Basil. Mattie is ferociously protective of her son. He’s all she has, she wants to be there to comfort and protect him from any injustice. Eva’s words are prophetic. As Basil grows older, he never learns to deal with life’s hardships. He is unable to accept any responsibility for his actions, and when finally called on to do so, he selfishly runs away, forfeiting his mother’s house as a result. In this regard, Basil is exactly like his father and many of the other men who appear in the novel. In the face of adversity or challenge, they run away. Butch Fuller is the first male character in the novel to openly maintain that running away is his life philosophy. He indirectly passes this legacy on to Basil.