Ron picks up his narration. The contrast between the Man’s large, elegant house and Denver’s tiny shack “disgust[s]” Ron. As they drive to Denver’s sister Hershalee’s old house, Ron considers what kind of paradox the Man had to be—someone who both oppressed poor black families but also occasionally extended mercy as well, such as when Denver was given a Schwinn bicycle or given a place to stay and work to do, even though the Man likely could have just used a tractor instead.
Once again, the perceived paradox of the Man—that he could be both oppressive and kind—typifies the story’s complex depiction of modern slavery and the people who upheld it. While slavery is never depicted as anything less than morally wrong, the authors refrain from completely demonizing the Man.
When Ron and Denver reach Hershalee’s shack, they enter, but immediately find that the small house has an eerie quality. As they are exploring, they both hear heavy, booted footsteps approaching them, coming from a room that is boarded up on all sides. They both flee the house, resting for a moment when they are a safe distance away. After a minute passes and nothing emerges from the house, both men are struck by a simultaneous feeling of terror once more and they bolt for the car. However, the car—which is nearly brand-new—will barely start and slowly sputters down the road for a quarter mile. Ron and Denver are gripped with terror— “I had never before felt such fear. It was visceral, palpable.” After a time, having put a considerable distance between them and the house and whatever was inside it, the car’s engine comes back to life, operating perfectly once again.
This vignette seems oddly out of place, other than being a thing that Ron and Denver reportedly experienced together. However, it does provide a contrasting parallel to the Godly supernatural events that Ron, Denver, and Deborah experience. The presence in Hershalee’s cabin sounds rather like a haunting of some sort, an evil visitation. Within this parallel, the difference between Denver’s old life and new life are apparent: his old life was rooted in pain and suffering, while his new life is righteous and blessed by God.