Pa looked at Royal, his shirt soaked with sweat, and my hands, dirty from the stones, and Pleasant unhitched, and put it all together. "I'm obliged to you," he said. "It's a son's work, planting. Not a daughter's. Thought I had a son to do it."
"Pa," I said quietly.
"Don't understand why he left. Couldn't tear me away from land like this," Royal said.
I bristled at that. I was angry at Lawton for leaving, too. But Royal was not family and therefore had no right to speak against him. (5.misnomer.49-52)
Family gets super complicated. Mattie doesn't like Pa speaking against her brother, and though she's upset with Lawton, too, when Royal disparages his choice, Mattie wants to defend her brother. It's usually like that with our own families. They might be idiots, but they're our idiots, and everyone else would be wise to watch their mouths.