One of the themes of Hinton's work is the idea of moving on and staying behind. Part of Tex's maturation process is understanding if he is going to be leaving Oklahoma for "bigger and better" things, or if he is going to be staying where he is and demonstrating a certain amount of loyalty to his environment of rural Oklahoma. Part of the critical element of this setting is the idea that the youth in it understand that there a natural compulsion to leave it for the city. They, like Mason and Jamie, see it as a vortex, where nothing good can materialize from remaining in the country. At the same time, Tex understands that this might not be his path. Confirmed through his conflicts with others, experiences in his own life, as well as the fortune teller, Tex has to endure the difficulty of determining whether he is going to remain or whether he, too, will leave. This notion of identity development, the crises that accompany it, and the maturation that evolves from it is a critical theme in the work.