Paul's repudiation of help from whites after Robert's betrayal of him persists throughout the book. As if to confirm his mistrust of whites, Paul's final succor comes from Cassie and his mother and not his white family. At the same time, many seemingly trustworthy and unprejudiced whites give Paul sincere offers of help along the way: Robert delivers the fateful letter, Sawyer offers to lend Paul the money he needs, Jamison oversees the transaction between Hollenbeck and Paul, and Wade Jamison sells Paul the other two hundred acres he wanted so dearly. Without these well-meaning men, Paul would not have been able to achieve his goal. While he allows himself to accept the freely proffered help of these men, he never enters into a financial obligation to them. Paul feels that being financially obliged to a white man is too close to the dependent status of a slave. If he became indebted to Sawyer, he might have to work his entire life to pay the debt. If he became indebted to his father or brother, he would be, at some level, condoning his family's double standards.

Paul is a fiercely independent and vigorously self-reliant individual, but a number of his accomplishments have depended on his kin's support, as Caroline admonishes him to remember. He and Mitchell rely on each other for help and protection, and he grows to rely on Caroline's will, courage, and determination. In the end, though he has struck the deal with Hollenbeck using the fruits of his own hard work and ingenuity, he can only close the deal with the help of his family. This help, as his mother explains in her letter, was there all along. But Paul understands his need to test himself, and he waits until every other avenue has been exhausted before calling on his family. Paul is independent but does not cut himself off from his family, and it is both his fierce determination and the support of the people around him that allow him to achieve his dream.