In this passage the author recognizes Blue Elk's sense of connection to the traditions of his culture. However, rather than submitting to his emotions, Blue Elk consistently suppresses them and attempts to convince himself not only that he has made the correct choice by rejecting the Ute life but that he is also performing an admirable deed by convincing Tom to return to Pagosa. Of Blue Elk, Borland writes, "I came for the boy's good, he told himself, for the good of my people." Tom has an equally complex reaction to Blue Elk's visit. He fails to understand Blue Elk's rejection of the Ute lifestyle and its beliefs. While Tom believes in the sense of continuity his mother has invested in him, Blue Elk forces him to consider that the old ways might come to an end. Borland writes, "The boy shook his head. 'How can there be an end?' he asked. 'There is the roundness.' He made the gesture for the circle, the no-end."