Old Yeller Book ReportA Story by OkieWonKenokie
The book Old Yeller is a powerful coming-of-age story, dealing with issues of love and loss that still resonate today. It's not embellished with special effects or superficial comic-relief characters; it's always honest, simple and real. The author of Old Yeller is Fred Gipson and the drawings are by Carl Burger. This heart-warming story takes place in the late 1860’s at Birdsong Creek in Texas. Here are some major events and main characters of Old Yeller.
The 4 main characters are Travis Coates, Mama, Little Arliss, and Old Yeller, the thieving dog. Travis Coates is left responsible for the farm while his father leaves on a 3-month cattle drive to Abilene, Kansas. Mama has to make sure that Travis gets everything that needs to be done around the farm completely finished. Little Arliss isn’t really much when it comes to the farm, but when he finds Old Yeller, the thieving stray dog he starts to not listen. But Little Arliss and Old Yeller start to get into trouble when they start playing in the drinking water.
When Travis goes on a hunt, he thinks that he should let Little Arliss keep Old Yeller. He started to use Old Yeller to help him with hunting, marking their pigs, and help watch the cornfield with the raccoons at night. When Travis decided to let Little Arliss keep Old Yeller, Burn Sanderson, Old Yeller’s owner, came to the Coates’ house to see if they had a thieving yeller dog. But when Little Arliss finds out what’s going on he starts to throw a hissy fit because he wants to keep Old Yeller. So when Burn Sanderson figures out that Little Arliss wants to keep the dog, he tries to talk Little Arliss into getting Mama to cook a jammed-up meal for him. When Mama agrees to it, Little Arliss gets to keep Old Yeller for the meal.
When Burn Sanderson was leaving, he called Travis to walk down to the creek with him. So Travis did as the man wanted, but he didn’t like what the man had to tell him. Burn Sanderson told him that there was a plague of hydrophobia going around. He said that he already shot two wolves, a fox and one skunk that had it. After hearing that, Travis felt fear run through his body. Burn Sanderson told Travis that he didn’t want to tell his mama because he didn’t want her to worry.
When Travis goes on a hunt, he thinks that he should let Little Arliss keep Old Yeller. He started to use Old Yeller to help him with hunting, marking their pigs, and help watch the cornfield with the raccoons at night. One day Travis told Mama that he was going to go mark the pigs and Mama told him to be careful. There was one herd of pigs that he waited for the next day to find. The next day he found the herd that he was looking for around near a mile from home. He had to climb up onto a ledge so that they wouldn’t attack him. Everything was going fine until underneath him gave away. He fell right in the middle of the boars.
Right when he fell, he got up and started to run away from the herd of boars. When they finally caught up to him, he felt the warmth and wetness of blood. He didn’t notice he was bleeding until he looked down with the boars all around him and a bite in his leg. Travis looked up to see Old Yeller leading the boars away from him. He smiled to see that Old Yeller was helping him, but just then he noticed that Old Yeller was getting hurt in the process.
When he finally got the pigs to go away from Old Yeller, he saw that Old Yellers chest was ripped open. He took his shirt off and ripped a sleeve off to wrap around his leg. He used the rest of it to wrap Old Yeller’s chest up so his insides would stay in. After he did that, he put Old Yeller into this opening and covered it with a big piece of wood so nothing could get to him. After that he started his way to the house, he tries to run but he didn’t have the strength.
When he reached home, his mom wouldn’t let him out of the house until he finally said that they have to go get Old Yeller. After Travis said that, Mama went and got some supplies to take with her. She had Little Arliss sit on Jumper with Travis on the way there. Once they got to where Old Yeller was, Mama told Little Arliss to go get the pretty green-striped lizard they saw on the way to Old Yeller. She had Little Arliss go do that because she didn’t want him to see how bad Old Yeller looked.
While Little Arliss was catching the pretty green-striped lizard, Mama had Travis pull a hair from Jumper’s tail. Mama used the piece of hair to sew Old Yeller’s chest back. Sewing Old Yeller’s chest up was a long job to do. When Mama got done sewing Old Yeller up, she wrapped his chest in some cloth to make sure the stitches stay. Mama told Little Arliss when he got back that they were going to play a game like Old Yeller was sick.
The good thing was that Little Arliss played along with the game. They had Old Yeller and Little Arliss on some pillows that were on a cowhide hooked to the back of Jumper’s back. Little Arliss never had a finer time than he did on that ride home. But when they hit rough areas with rocks, the jolting hurt Old Yeller till sometimes he couldn’t hold back his whining. At times they had to stop to get Old Yeller some water and to see how he was holding up.
Finally they got home just about the time it got dark enough for the stars to show. But by the time they got home, Travis’ leg was stiff and numb. When Travis slid off Jumper’s back, that leg couldn’t hold him. So he fell to the ground and just laid there because he was too tired and hurt to get up. On the hide, Travis could see Old Yeller licking Little Arliss’ face. Little Arliss was sound asleep.
While Travis and Old Yeller were healing, the roan bull they saw in the fight, was acting sickly till then Travis didn’t think of the hydrophobia. So Travis told Mama to get his gun for him do he could shoot the roan bull. Travis asked Mama why they had to burn the roan bull instead of leaving it for the buzzards. But Mama told him that they should burn the corpse so the sickness wouldn’t spread. It took two days and nights to burn that bull.
When they finally saw Spot again, they figured out that she also had hydrophobia. So Travis drove her off a little ways from the house so they didn’t have to smell the burning of her. By the time he got home, he was so wore out that he could barely keep himself standing so Mama and Lisbeth went to go burn the heifer.
When dark came Travis was beginning to feel uneasy about Mama and Lisbeth. Travis was left home with Little Arliss and the new speckled pup, but until he heard the sound of dogs fighting he didn’t think of what was going on. The sound was getting closer and closer to the house. When Travis heard Mama yell, “Travis! Travis! Make a light, Son, and get your gun! And hurry! That’s when he knew what was going on. He grabbed his gun and went outside he wouldn’t shoot till Mama and Lisbeth was out of the line of fire. So when they went in, Travis had to get a guess-aim because he couldn’t get his sights well enough.
At first he thought he shot Old Yeller, but he actually hit the wolf. When Travis came back in, Mama told him the whole story of what happened. But then Travis didn’t really understand what Mama was trying to tell him after they talked about what happened. He didn’t understand until she said that Old Yeller would have to be shot because he was bitten by a mad wolf. Just then Travis walked outside, reloaded his gun, put the muzzle to Old Yeller’s head, and pulled the trigger.
Travis hated that he had to shoot his dog, but he knew it had to be done. After a few mornings of shooting the dog, Papa came home from the cattle drive. Papa brought back money in his pockets, a big shouting laugh for everyone and a horse for Travis. The horse was a cat-stepping blue roan with a black tail and mane. Pa told Travis that Ma had told him about how he had to shoot his dog. He also said that he should just forget about it and move on.
I recommend that people who love reading books with animals to read Old Yeller. It starts out a nice story, but the only thing is in the end it’s a sad one. Old Yeller is a nice heart-warming story. The book will make you happy as you get further into it. You’ll start to get drug into reading the book more and more until you finish it.
© 2010 OkieWonKenokie
Added on July 19, 2010
Last Updated on July 19, 2010
North Little Rock, AR
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