There is a relationship here between the chapters that Mitchell uses as stages both in the maturing of his character and the setting within which the character is placed to face a challenge.
From a childish worry of being accepted by his peers to the relationship with an old woman who appreciates his poetry, Jason has grown in his understanding of the world and his place within it. He has learned to deal with various scenarios that call for choices to be made and demons to be faced and with each trial we see him establishing a more adult outlook.
From Chapter 1 we recognized a problem of sorts in the marriage of his father and mother. We see a strained relationship between Jason and his dad, one that is both loving yet distanced by the father’s preoccupation with his job, and possible, with a mistress. When Jason goes on an overnight business trip with his father there is opportunity for both insight and a change in their relationship. Mitchell handles this beautifully varying between disappointment and those few moments of sharing that glue them together.