There was a time when Rise would stay overnight at my house at least once a week, and I knew he liked it when he did. He doesn't stay over anymore and I can understand that, too. There are things you just don't do after a while. (1.68)
At first, Jesse attributes the changes in Rise to plain old growin' up. Eventually, though, he comes to realize that he's wrong and Rise has actually changed. Like, a lot and in really important ways.
"So what makes you think Rise is different?" We were sitting in the church at the organ and C.J. was doodling over the keys. (3.1)
In a way, this is the question that plagues Jesse throughout the whole book. He tries to talk to C.J. about it a few times, but he can't quite articulate what's going on.
"What do you think of Mason?" Sidney asked me as he parked the car.
"He's different," I said. "He's like a different kind of guy." (7.41-7.42)
Spoiler alert: what's making Rise act different is criminal activity. Just like we see with Mason, here. In this book, criminals are a different sort of people than non-criminals.
I told myself that if I did his autobiography right, if I did a really good job, maybe I could change him back to what I knew. (8.69)
Jesse needs to learn that no matter what he does, he can't change Rise. The only way Rise is going to change to a different version of himself is by wanting to—and right now, Rise definitely doesn't seem to want to.
I didn't know how a person could be different. Not so suddenly, anyway. (11.112)
Psst… We bet Rise actually didn't change so subtly. Instead, we bet that he changed in little bits at a time and Jesse either did his darndest to ignore it or just didn't recognize the shifts in his friend until a whole bunch had already happened.
When Rise laughed, he looked young again. I hadn't noticed that he didn't look young anymore. (11.22)
Sounds like being a drug lord really ages you. What do you think that's about?
"You're becoming a different person," I imagined myself saying. "Somebody I almost don't know." (15.11)
Just because Jesse doesn't know how to talk to Rise about his concerns doesn't mean he doesn't think about it. He really wants to find a way to get through to his buddy about the ways in which he's changed.
A year before, Rise had just been an ordinary dude; now he was sounding like Moses coming down from the mountainside, passing out commandments, signing autographs, and blowing kisses to his fans. (20.27)
Why do you think becoming a criminal has made Rise more egotistical? Do you think it's real and that Rise really thinks he's all that and a bag of chips, or do you think it's an act?
This wasn't the Rise I had grown up with […]. That Rise had died somewhere in the past year, perhaps even the past few weeks. The Rise I knew could not have set anybody up to be shot, to be killed. (22.4)
It's one thing to sell drugs; it's another to order people's deaths. How do you think Rise rationalizes the latter to himself? Or has he changed so much that he just doesn't care?
People I didn't even know were asking me questions. It made me mad to think that my friends, kids and grownups who thought I was a nice guy one day, could think the next day I was shooting people in the streets. (22.8)
Wait a second, Jesse… Isn't that exactly what happened with Rise? And here's a second question for you: If it happened to Rise, could it happen with Jesse? Hmm…