The boy grows up with the teacher, learning to read in the colder months and working the field in the summer. This is the first dynamic segment of the book—it is the first time that one of the character's station in life has changed. The boy is improved; he is different, and he now has a greater destiny. It is ironic that this is the point in the book in which the anticipated homecoming finally occurs. The boy has ceased searching for his father—the fact that during one of those searches he stumbled upon the teacher recalls the earlier statement about people always finding that for which they they are looking. In his case, he did not find his father, but he found something else he was looking for: a teacher and an opportunity.
Much like Sounder, the boy's father comes home crippled. And like Sounder as well, when he was injured the odds were that he would die, but he has defied those odds. And still like Sounder, all that the boy's father wanted to do was come home. Even though both the father and Sounder die at the end of the book, the last few passages are the most uplifting in the entire text. There is a sense of peace in the death of the father and the dog, and the boy is wise enough to know it. He remembers something he read with the teacher, "Only the unwise think that what has changed is dead." Much has changed, but nothing has really died. He knows that the spirits of his father and dog are alive in all of them and in the land. He knows they are all changed for the better as a result of the devastation. And, despite the tragedy of his father's arrest and captivity, the boy may never have found the teacher had those events not unfolded in the manner they did. The sense of peace at the end of the book comes from the belief that what happens in life is the God's doing, and, while his designs might sometimes be mysterious, they are something in which everyone can have faith and something that, in time, everyone will understand.