Whilst Roy and John are forbidden to play on the Rockpile as the other boys from the neighborhood do, Roy decides to go anyway once, asking John not to tell anyone as he will be right back. There he gets into a fight and gets hurt, starts bleeding. He is brought back into the house and as the father gets home, he tries to blame the woman and John for letting Roy go there. He favors Roy because he is his real son and John (stepson) serves as the scapegoat.
A theme of the story is alienation, and feeling neglected.