At the end of the story, John is not as afraid as he used to be. John worried about a lot of things and he was also frightened a lot of the time. John says to his father "Watter never hurt a man; it keeps his hide from cracking." This says to me that John is very changed after his encounter with the other boy. John also says "Say, Pa! Will you chuck me your bull whip here ashore? Them horses is getting kind of dozy. They need soaping proper." John was scared that he would get in trouble for dropping his whip and he did not want to ask for his dads whip because he thought that his dad would get angry. John has matured and now he is acting like his dad was. I do not think that John and his father reversed positions, just that John has grown more like his father.
I think that if certain groups of people want to initiate young people into adulthood they should. Some of these "initiations" are very important to the culture and are celebrations. Most initiations are not as hard as what is in the book. In some cultures, the pain is what makes initiations so important. I know that is the past, young native men had to perform the "sun dance". In the sun dance the young male had two sticks through their chest fastened to strings and the strings were tied to a tall post. The young man had to dance around the pole for days until the sticks ripped from their skin. The scars that they receive from this ceremony symbolize their entrance into manhood. A celebration of adulthood is the Jewish Bar Mitzvah. When a Jewish boy reaches the age of thirteen, a Bar Mitzvah ceremony will be held. A Bar Mitzvah is a religious celebration of adulthood, and a vast party is held in commemoration. I believe many initiations are just about carrying on a tradition from generation to generation. I think that almost all initiations in to adulthood in our society are all about religion and cultures, and they should be celebrated freely and without restraint.