Reflecting on Stories

Keenan reflects on a novel about a boy and his dog:

Gipson, Fred. Old Yeller. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1956.

Old Yeller


1.     “In fact,” Papa wound up, “all we lack having a tight tail-holt on the world is a little cash money” (2).

Have you ever felt like all you need is just a little bit more money and everything else would be perfect?

2.     “I didn’t see the danger in time” (40).

What do you think someone could do to become more aware of their surroundings?

3.     “They were big solemn brown eyes and right pretty to look at; only when she fixed them on me, it always seemed like they looked clear through me and saw everything I was thinking” (67). 

Do you think that people can actually know what you are thinking by staring into your eyes?

4.     “I’ve hung around over there in that cow camp, eating my own cooking till I’m so starved out, I don’t hardly throw a shadow” (93).

Have you ever known what it was like to go hungry or not have a good home-cooked meal?

5.     “Hurting worse than I’d ever hurt in my life” (179).

Do you know what it is like to grieve the loss of someone or something you love?

The story of Old Yeller has made me realize that you shouldn’t dislike something right away because it could be very important later on in your life.  In the past, I have found myself jumping to conclusions about new things in my life and deciding right away that I did not approve or like something.  After reading Old Yeller and realizing that sometimes what I do not like in the beginning could help me later, I will try to do my best at giving new things a chance before deciding whether I like them or not. I have to trust that giving things a chance might help me later on in life but I might not see the benefit right now.  

This book also brought back memories to me from when my mom and I had to make the decision to put my dog Dani down because she was old and sick.  After reading this book, it left me filled with sadness instead of a smile because it reminded me of the love I had for Dani. She was my first dog and I got her when I was 3 years old; she almost made it to her 10th birthday.  We were like siblings and went everywhere together. She would protect me from other dogs that came near me when I was young.  This reminds me of how Old Yeller protected Travis and his family from the wild animals with the Hydrophobia Plague.

Another perspective about Old Yeller is that growing older, especially into adulthood, there is more and more responsibility. I recognize that as I get older, I will need to take on more responsibilities and take care of my family the way they have taken care of me throughout my life.  I hope I can be as strong a man as Travis has proven himself to be in this book. 


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