Jethro gets frustrated while the men are talking after the barn has been built because they treat him like a little kid. One even goes so far as to tell him congenially,
"Be glad you're a boy, young feller, and don't hev to pester yoreself with all these troubles that men be sufferin' through these days."
After the barn has been built, the men get into a conversation about the war. They voice their disapproval of General McClellan, who is viewed as too timid, and they debate the strengths and weaknesses of President Lincoln himself. Jethro, who does not take part in the discussion, is intimately acquainted with the events taking place in the country, and has reasoned opinions about what is going on, and a great deal of respect for the President in particular. Jethro has kept up with news of the war by reading the newspaper and researching the places where battles are occurring in the books Shad has left him, and he receives letters from his brothers and from Shad, all of whom are fighting in the war. When the well-meaning gentleman who has helped with the barn-raising tells Jeth that he's lucky to be a boy because he does not have to worry about "all these troubles that men be sufferin'," Jethro is insulted, but does not express his dismay. Having been brought up to treat his elders with deference, Jeth reminds himself that
"he must keep quiet: these men were kind, generous men, and anyway, a boy had no right to contradict a man's opinion. If they wished to think of him as an ignorant child, he must not try to change their idea of him, but it was a bitter dose to swallow" (Chapter 8).