The world was turning upside down for Jethro. He felt as if he were someone else, someone looking from far off at a boy who had started from home with a team and wagon on a March morning that was at least a hundred years ago.

In Chapter 5, Mr. Burdow escorts Jethro partway home to avoid Jethro being ambushed by one of the men from the store. Jethro is frightened at Mr. Burdow's presence and at Mr. Burdow's explanation for why he is there. Jethro is so scared he is nearly out of himself—this fear is nothing like any he has experienced before. He has aged years in a single day, and has crossed the threshold from boy to man in a seemingly single leap. By the end of the book, Jethro has several such moments that propel him from where he was to an entirely different place.