In Kent Haruf's Plainsong, Ike and Bobby are important characters through the story. They are first introduced as being neglected and abandoned by their mother. You soon see how independent they are, as they have a job, and go to school and basically live life without parental help. They face many problems in the book, and their close relationship with each other helps them overcome all these obstacles, and make them stronger people. Through constant struggle and turmoil, Ike and Bobby cross the threshold from childhood into adolescence.
When we meet Ike and Bobby, we can see that they are very mature for their age, because we see them going to their job, a rare thing for boys at such a young age. Adults also acknowledge their maturity, as Ralph does. They also understand what is happening to their mother, and they do not take it in a bad way, but instead take the news as an adult would.
They also carry on mature conversations with other adults, such as Harvey Schmidt from the barbershop and Mrs. Stearns. Another part in the book that shows their maturity is when, in a later chapter, the boys help Mrs. Stearns make cookies, so she will not be alone. This shows their maturity because they understand the values of helping others, and most kids of their age do not understand values such as this.
The first real conflict Ike and Bobby encounter is when Ike wakes Bobby to go look at what is happening in the vacant house next to them. As they see the boy having sex with the high school girl, they are traumatized and are in awe of the experience; they learn that men have more power than women, and they also learn wrong values about the relationships...