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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 472

In his childhood, Chal’s farm chores occupy much of his time (chapter 1). At the same time, he has a rich imaginative life, alternating easily between the “world of reality” and the “world of fantasy” in which he becomes one of the Indian braves of the past.

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If he were riding he would wheel his pony and dash off through the trees; the stiff, tough arms of the blackjacks catching at his clothing if he did not manage to dodge them by lying flat on the back of the pony or clinging to its side as he raced; enemies in pursuit of a fleeing brave. . . . At such times he would become a scout creeping into the camp of the enemy; leading the pony cautiously over the second growth oaks and slipping and sliding over the clay.

As he grows older, oil leases and allotment are changes that come to the reservation (chapter 5). The involvement of Chal’s father, John, turns out to be not just futile but hazardous. After John returns from the Council trip to Washington, he reveals that he and his associates have been kicked off the Council.

At dinner his father ate very little. Suddenly he looked at Chal. "Son, your father has been branded by the guv'mint as a traitor. . . . they kicked us off the Council—they wanted the Reservation Oil company to have the leases." John looked at Chal intently for a moment, then said, "Don't you believe your father's a traitor to nobody."

Chal visualizes the "guv'mint" as a great, bearded patriarch, a giant that he should try to avoid.

As Oklahoma becomes a state, oil is discovered and the resulting boom brings both prosperity and ruin. Chal grows up and heads off to the university, missing his home and finding the city’s red brick buildings ugly. His inner conflicts about...

(The entire section contains 472 words.)

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