Old Yeller Themes & Characters

Fred Gipson
This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Old Yeller.
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A major theme of this novel is the meaning of adulthood. When Papa leaves on a cattle drive, he tells Travis to "be the man of the family." That means, his father says, taking care of the family and doing his work before his mother tells him it needs to be done. As Travis soon discovers, maturation is not an overnight process. His five-year-old brother continues to defy him, and his mother scolds him as if he were a child when he bosses Little Arliss. The hardest lesson that Travis must learn about being an adult is that sorrow is an inevitable part of life. At the beginning of the novel, Travis does not want a dog because he felt too much grief when his dog Bell died from a rattlesnake bite.

Later, he finally accepts Old Yeller, only to have him die, too. Hoping to escape...

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This section contains 341 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Old Yeller Study Guide
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