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Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

Education Theme

Who needs an education when you've got a good pair of dogs and a forest right outside your door. Right? Not so much. While we were distracted reading about all Billy's hard work trying to get his dogs, his mom was in the background praying her kids would one day have a "real" education. Where the Red Fern Grows shows that education is the driving motivation for Billy's parents. But it's not just about going to school and getting a formal education. Yes, they want to send their children to school, but they also want their kids to experience the world beyond their tiny farm. 'Cause seriously, who doesn't know what soda pop is?

Questions About Education

  1. Billy's mom wants him to get a "real" education. What is a real education in her mind? What would Billy say is a "real" education?
  2. Why is Billy so resistant to the idea of going to school? What have his experiences with school been like? 
  3. Who do you think is the most educated person in the novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Billy gets a better education in the woods than he would ever in school because he learns about hard work and self-reliance.

Little Ann and Old Dan teach Billy more than he teaches them.

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