Willie Eaton is the minor character in this book. He appears in the episode with dance, and he wasn’t and will not appear in the novel again. Truly saying his role in the book isn’t important at all. Who will be interested in such a small hero without big importance and role? Nevertheless, the author of the book wrote a book so masterfully that we have even his characteristics.
So, he is the chairman of the government camp’s entertainment committee. He and his committee members contradict a staged riot attempt by the Farmers Association. Being the head of the Weedpatch entertainment committee, he was responsible for a well being of the party. He understood that after the dialogue between him and Ezra, he needs to be even more attentive to all the people who will come. He had not a very big amount of security people (just 20 people), but he strongly believed everything would be okay. Well, we know that in real life such strong assurances have no chances to happen. Moreover, everything usually becomes even worse. That happened in the book too, but when the situation is going out of control, he easily and quickly defuses the problem raised by the intruders and the police during the dance.
Can we summarize that this guy was needed at least because of his ability to deal with the problems and save somebody’s lives from prison? Yes, we definitely can.
Willie Eaton in the Essays