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Where the Red Fern Grows Notes on the Determination Themes

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Where the Red Fern Grows Topic Tracking: Determination

Determination 1: During Billy's spare time from helping Papa, he goes down to the fishermen's campground and collects left-behind items. One day, he finds a sporting magazine. Inside is an advertisement for hunting hounds. They are $25 each. Although Billy has no money and his family is poor, he is determined to get himself two hunting hounds and will do whatever it takes to get them.

Determination 2: After Billy sees the advertisement in the magazine for the pups, he is determined to get them. He spends two long years working hard and earning enough money to buy the dogs. He sells things to the fishermen like crawfish, minnows, fresh vegetables, and berries. Billy will stop at nothing to buy his pups, and after the two years are up, he finally has the $50 that he needs.

Determination 3: Grandpa tells Billy that his dogs will be shipped to a nearby town called Tahlequah. He happens to know someone who is going out that way and Billy can ride with him if he wants to. Billy agrees, but later that night at home, he cannot stop thinking about his dogs. He needs to have them now, so he packs some food and leaves the house. He is so intent upon getting his dogs right away that he travels to Tahlequah on foot that night through the woods.

Determination 4: Billy trains his dogs to hunt raccoons. He spends all summer training them, running them throughout the river bottoms of the Ozarks. But when it comes time for them to jump into the water, they won't go; they are frightened of the water. Billy is determined to teach them how to swim and he eventually does. And even though it was tough, he says that his persistence had no bounds. He was willing to do whatever it took to teach Old Dan and Little Ann to swim.

Determination 5: Old Dan and Little Ann tree a coon up the biggest sycamore in the river bottoms. Billy knows it is going to be quite a task to cut the tree down, but he is determined to do it. Papa suggests going somewhere else, to another tree, but Billy insists on trying to cut this one down. He says that he will do it even if it takes him a year.

Determination 6: After two days of trying to chop down the biggest sycamore in the river bottoms to get the coon out, Billy is drained. His entire body is sore, he has blisters on his hands, and he is tired and hungry. Again, Papa suggests that Billy leave the tree, for it is just too big of a task to take on. But again, Billy does not give up. He promised his dogs that if they treed a coon, he would do the rest by chopping down the tree. He is determined to keep his promise to his dogs and he continues to chop the tree despite his pain.

Determination 7: Billy and his dogs arrive at the meeting place for the "ghost coon" hunt. The Pritchard boys are there and they tell Billy that it's no use; he might as well just give up now because his dogs won't be able to catch the "ghost coon." Billy does not give up and he does not call his dogs in. He says that he is not going to give up until his dogs give up.

Determination 8: Old Dan and Little Ann treed two coons at the championship coon hunt and they are on their third. They start to bark treed, but when everyone runs over, the coon seems to have disappeared. Grandpa, Papa, and the judge tell Billy to give up on this coon and move on to another, but Billy refuses. As long as his dogs are searching, he knows they will find the coon, and they do. Billy is determined to continue his unyielding faith and pride in his dogs and he sees no reason to stop now, just because a coon has pulled a trick.

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