Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey is an archetypal pattern that forms the underlying structure of every story ever told, even the story of our own lives. The fourth step of the 12 steps to the journey is The Crossing of the First Threshold.
"The Crossing..." in summary, is the point where the person actually crosses into the place of adventure, leaving the known rules and laws of his/her world and venturing into the unknown and dangerous realm where the limits are not known.
In the novel, Hard Luck, the protagonist, 14 year old Jake Adams has come to the Hoover Dam out of necessity. His parents are dead, his baby brother in an orphanage, the current economic depression has forced him to travel west from his home in Oklahoma. What he finds when he arrives is a picture of tragedy balanced by hope.
As he proceeds to get a job mucking and is glad for it, at the same time he wants to be like his buddy Eddie who work as a dynamite nipper. It's not until Jake realizes Eddie isn't going to encourage him, that he begins his fight as an underdog, thus crossing the first threshold.
Now he must not only communicate his desire but prove he will strive for it by engaging in activities that will ultimately strengthen the outcome of his journey.