Review Of The Book Where The Red Fern Grows By Wilson Rawls

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

Where the Red Fern Grows is a children’s autobiographical fiction novel wrote by Wilson Rawls, published in 1961. The story is about a boy and his two Redbone Coonhounds, whom he saves up for, and trains for hunting. The book takes place in the 1920s in rural Oklahoma, our main character’s childhood home. Our main characters are Billy Colman and his dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann. They face many difficult situations where Billy and his loyal hounds are put to the test.

Our main character is Billy Colman. Billy is heavily based off the early childhood of Wilson Rawls. We meet him when he is an adult, coming back from work and running into a dog fight. He breaks up the dog fight and nurses the one being attacked. It was a redbone coonhound. After he feeds and bathes the dog; he releases the dog back out onto his journey home. After this, Billy starts to tell us about his early life, and how he had a sick case of what he calls “puppy love.” Billy lived on a farm with his parents and his three sisters. They were extremely poor, and Billy wanted two dogs of his own for hunting. When he told his father this, his father told him that hunting dogs were too expensive for them going for around $75 for two hounds. While cleaning an old fishermen camp Billy finds an old magazine talking about selling redbone hounds for $25 each, as a result of this over two years he saves up $50 to buy two redbone hounds. Once he gets these dogs, he names them Old Dan and Little Ann.

Billy’s grandfather buys the dogs for him, telling him they’ll arrive in a week from Kentucky. Billy doesn’t want to wait a whole week, so he goes into town to get them early. While in town he finds a shop where he buys a pair of overalls for his dad and a few yards of cloth for his mother and sisters with leftover money he had because the dogs were marked down to $20 a dog, leaving him $10 leftover. Also, in town he runs into many kids who criticize his appearance and call him mean names because he doesn’t have a proper education and very clearly lives on a farm. He soon gets into a fight with some kids who were making fun of his dogs. Another moment is the first coon he caught. He promised to his dogs that he would do the rest if they chased it into one. Old Dave and Little Ann chased an old coon into a tree, a huge sycamore tree to be exact. Billy concluded to cut down the tree while the coon is inside it, then he can get the coon for his dogs. It took a lot of work, but he eventually did it.

Billy’s grandfather has a wild imagination and gets Billy into many of his adventures. He was constantly bragging about how good Billy and his hounds were, often exaggerating the story, a tiny bit. Soon Ruben Pritchard, a nasty kid ready with insults and ready to fight, and Rainie Pritchard, Ruben’s younger brother. Rainie isn’t the brightest, but he always tries to make bets. Once, the Pritchard’s gets underneath grandpa’s skin and they make a bet. They claim there is a ghost coon nobody has been able to catch. And if Billy’s hounds are as good as they’re claimed to be then they should be able to catch it. While hunting for the coon, once it is cornered and able to be killed, Billy refuses to kill it. He caught it and he didn’t want to murder it. Ruben gets angry and decides he’s going to kill it himself. He grabs Billy’s axe and goes to the coon. Their hound ends up getting loose and going to them. Billy’s hound and their dog get into a bloody fight, Billy having to pull his dogs away and tie them up. Meanwhile Ruben tripped with the axe, making it go through his stomach, paralyzing Rainie with fear. Ruben does not survive. Soon afterwards, to distract Billy, his grandpa signs Billy up for a contest. Billy wins two awards. A silver cup for the best-looking dog. Little Ann won this prize. And he won the gold cup and $300 for getting the most coon pelts.

This story shows themes of determination, maturity, and self-reliance multiple times. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I liked it because it showed the loyalty and relationship between Billy and his dogs extremely well. He had given them memorable personalities and made them characters I can’t forget. Do I recommend this book? Yes, I do. I recommend this book to my friends. It’s an extremely intriguing story about a boy and his dogs vs. nature.

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