Mattie goes to find Weaver, who is sitting on the dock. She ponders aloud why real life isn't like book life, which seems to be uncomplicated. But Weaver disagrees—he thinks that characters are much more complicated than Mattie realizes.
Once again insightful, Weaver thinks that Mattie's confusion is about Emmie Hubbard, who has taken Weaver's mamma in and been much saner since taking on the responsibility. In fact, the Hubbard kids haven't gone to the Gokey home for breakfast because Emmie has taken over what Weaver's mom used to do: selling food at the train station.
Some people in the area are saying that the fire is Weaver's fault; if he hadn't opened his mouth or wanted justice in the first place, none of it would have happened.
When Mattie tries to cheer Weaver up, he tells her that he's staying to work for Mr. Morrison, the owner of the Glenmore, until his mother's better. He hopes that Columbia will hold the scholarship until next year, but he doesn't believe they will.
And Mattie, who hasn't shed a tear through many difficulties, cries for Weaver and the death of his opportunity. She sees his future disappearing and his dreams dying, and she tells him to go before he gets stuck in Eagle Bay… like Mattie is.