* The narrator of the story is a boy named Ike who is 16 years old at the beginning of the story.
* Ike has been hunting with a group of men in the Mississippi wilderness for six years.
* The timing of the story is in the years immediately after the Civil War.
* Old Ben is the bear that the men hunt every November.
* As a child, Ike used to watch the men go out to hunt but this year he joins them.
* The hunting party includes Ike's cousin, McCaslin, Major deSpain, Boon, Sam Fathers and General Compson.
* One morning Sam and Ike are out together and come across Old Ben's paw mark.
* Ike feels fragile and small in the power of the wilderness and its creatures.
* Sam spends a lot of time teaching Ike how to have patience when learning to shoot his gun and hunt.
* The following year...
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