"Nothing's any good this year," Ben replied. "My daddy says it will get worse with mining going on everywhere."
"What does mining have to do with your mama's vegetables?" M.C. asked.
Ben was silent a moment, as if he didn't want to talk about it.
Reluctantly, he said, "Well, Daddy and Uncle Joe went for miles north and east following the coal seam, looking for mining cuts. They didn't go to Sarah's Mountain because of what your daddy might do. But wherever else, they lay hands on cuts…"
"You mean they thought to work magic on the hills?" M.C. stared at Ben in disbelief.
"I'm just telling you what they had to do," Ben said. "Daddy says it didn't work straight off but that maybe it will slow the ruin down."
"Naturally it didn't work," M.C. said. "That's why folks stay clear of your father, for doing things like that."
"He just can't find a way to heal a mountain is all," Ben said. Looking at M.C., his eyes were anxious, innocent. (1.93-100)
On one hand, M.C. seems to believe that the Killburns are "witchy." But when Ben brings up a situation where they actually are trying to "work magic," M.C. doesn't believe it. His contradictory stance toward the Killburns' powers is confusing, right? Are they magical? Are they not? Ben believes in their magic, but then, he's a Killburn and he's "innocent." So what are we supposed to believe? Why all this mystery and confusion about the Killburns' abilities?