This story shows the importance of allowing people to be who they are. Onion John doesn't speak so that people can understand him. He is superstitious and lives in a house he built himself. He doesn't have running water or electricity. Andy, has befriended Onion John and his parents think Onion John is very strange, but they are still kind to him.
Andy introduces his dad to Onion John, and his father becomes determined to help Onion John be more normal. Andy's father also wants Andy to go to MIT since he was unable to. He had a dream for his life and now wants to live vicariously through Andy.
When we are helping someone we need to be careful that we are doing so for the right reasons. Andy tries to tell his dad what he wants and what he thinks would be best for Onion John, but it takes a while to get that message through to his father and to the town. What the town wants for Onion John isn't in his best interest.