The style in this italicized part is distinctly more poetic than the general narrative. In parts it seems almost surreal; when Rufus is lying in his crib, at one point it seems that he is having an argument or exchange with the surrounding darkness. Agee goes on at great length about the vast fear the darkness inspires in the small child, which effectively illustrates how frightening even the simplest things can be to small children. However, the narrative does not stop there, but takes on a tone of all-seeing prayer that is far beyond any insight that a child in a crib would be capable of expressing. Agee says that Rufus feels that "this little boy he inhabited was only the cruelest of deceits. That he was but the nothingness of nothingness from the depth and wide throat of eternity burned the cold, delirious chuckle of rare monsters beyond rare monsters, cruelty beyond cruelty." While Rufus could never have used those words to express his great fear, Agee uses them to inspire the same fear in us that the child experiences.
Rufus calls the second song that he wants his father to sing "gallon." Jay is always amused that Rufus mistakes the words "gal and" for gallon, though Mary and her relatives do not share in this amusement: "They felt, he knew, that he was not a man to take the word 'gallon' so purely as a joke; not that the drinking had been any sort of problem, for a long time now." By these words we learn that Jay did at one point have a drinking problem, and one that was so serious that people do not feel it appropriate to make light of it. However, because Jay says it has not been a problem "for a long time" when Rufus is still a baby, we learns that Jay must have gotten his drinking largely under control by the time he and Mary had children. Alcoholism is evidently something that Jay has worked hard to overcome; he mentions feeling thirsty, but then says that if he ever gets drunk again, he will kill himself.
The interaction between Rufus and Victoria represents Rufus's introduction to the issue of race and to the cultural differences between white and black people in the South. Rufus learns that an innocent question about why Victoria's skin is dark could be considered hurtful in light of all of the racial prejudice of the time and the place—even though such prejudice does not exist within Rufus's own family or in his head. Again, Agee presents a serious issue—here, racism—through Rufus's bewildered eyes, exploring it by way of Rufus's innocent questioning, much as he has earlier explored the topic of death in the conversation between Rufus and Mary.