A prominent problem at the beginning of A Long Way from Chicago is that neither child really knows, understands, appreciates, or even wants to be with their Grandma Dowdel. They see their grandma as someone who doesn’t really care for others, especially not her neighbors. Soon Joey sees that Grandma Dowdel cares about injustices and does her best to right wrongs through her own independent means. We see this problem being resolved when Joey grows up to be a man who deeply respects his grandmother and what he and his sister have learned about treating others with respect and compassion. Also, his sister, Mary Alice, grows up to be a self-assured young woman.