The Bear Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Who is the bear in THE BEAR?

Old Ben is a bear who has become infamous in the forest and has earned himself a human name. Old Ben has one mangled paw, is a legend because of the destruction he has caused, and he has a solitary nature. The bear is described as being absolved of mortality.

2. Who is the narrator and what does he share with the reader at the beginning of the book?

The boy, Ike, narrating the story is sixteen, and we learn he has been hunting for six years. The boy describes the importance of the wilderness, the presence of alcohol on all of the hunting trips, and that the day in December when Old Ben is caught starts with whiskey.

3. How does the author use a flashback to reveal information through the narrator?

The narration goes back to when the boy is ten and first learns about Old Ben. As a child, Ike watched the men leave for their November hunting trips, and finally at ten he is allowed to join his cousin McCaslin, Major deSpain, and General Compson. Ike describes the drizzly day and sitting with Sam Fathers who is teaching him to hunt.

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