The migrant people try to find pleasure in the midst of their suffering. One migrant tells a story of his time as a soldier, when his regiment was ordered to fire on an unresisting Native American warrior. The migrant reflects on the sorrow he felt after destroying “somepin better’n you.”
The migrant’s remorse at his arbitrary cruelty shows that human unkindness makes even its perpetrators unhappy.
When the migrants have the money to do so, they drink alcohol. Other times, they play music and dance. Preachers give passionate sermons and baptize reverent crowds, who “grovel and whine” on the ground. These activities let the migrants distract themselves from their abject circumstances.
The migrants take whatever route they can to escape from their destitution, in the hopes of escaping the difficulty of their lives and find hope where they can, such as in the promise of religious salvation.