Jesse returns home to his mother and sister, but his experiences make it impossible to settle into his life as it was before; he will be forever haunted by images of the slave trade. Hoping to avoid anything having to do with that institution, Jesse becomes an apothecary and moves to Rhode Island, where there are no slaves. There he lives an uneventful life, but he misses the South where he grew up, and he wonders what became of Ras, but never finds out. When the Civil War comes, Jesse fights for the North, and eventually the memories of his kidnapping and his time on The Moonlight dim. He will always hate the sound of music, however, because it will forever remind him of the dancing of the slaves.
In the novel "The Slave Dancer," Jessie and Ras are fed, sheltered and cared for by Daniel. Daniel is a run-away slave who has mangaged to build himself an nice little place in the forrest. Daniel, however is at risk if anyone finds out he is helping, or if Jessie would tell anyone about him, he would be recaptured. Daniel helps Ras escape to the North, and gives Jessie directions to find his way home. After overcoming several more challenges on his way home, Jessie finally does arrive home safe, however, not the same. Jessie decides on becoming an apprentice to an apothecary. When he completes his training he moves to Rhode Island and works. He eventually sends for his family. He fights in the Civil War on the side of the North. He marries and lives "a normal" life, but never loses his love of the south. He spends the rest of his life avoiding music and looking for Ras. He even thinks he sees Ras one day and chases down a young, tall black man, but it isn't Ras. Jessie has survived, but he has not survived unscathed.