Study Guide

Where the Red Fern Grows Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

  • After a long, terrifying night, the sun comes up and Billy is again on his way with his pups.
  • Billy decides to head home by way of the fishing grounds where he first found the sportsman's magazine.
  • He stalls for a bit while he figures out how to tell his parents. See, not only did he leave in the middle of the night without telling anyone, but he also never told them about saving for the pups in the first place.
  • Seriously, if Billy were our son, we'd be a little afraid of him. What kind of kid can save his pennies for two years and not breathe a single word about it? A really freaky one, that's who.
  • In the end, he decides to be honest and straightforward with them. Sure, sounds good.
  • But first, he has to deal with a way more important and pressing problem: naming the pups.
  • As he debates all sort of names, he looks up and sees a heart carved in a tree with the names Ann and Dan. He decides on Little Ann and Old Dan as perfect names.
  • Talk about coincidence! He first found the magazine in the camp, and now he found names for his pups in the very same spot. It's almost like there's some unseen power helping out. (For more on this, visit our "Themes: Religion" section.)
  • When he finally sees his house, Billy realizes it looks different after his visit to town: "It looked clean and neat and peaceful, nestled there in the foothills of the Ozarks. Yes, on that night I was proud of our home" (6.14). Guess the big city isn't so great, after all.
  • Well, up Billy goes to the house, and it turns out that his family knew just where he was the whole time. When they couldn't find him, they looked at his grandpa's store. Gramps spilled the beans, so Billy doesn't have to explain anything.
  • In fact, it doesn't even seem like he's going to get in trouble. Billy's mom is freaking out about how worried they all were; Billy's sisters just want to play with the puppies; and Billy can't stop crying. The whole scene is a little crazy.
  • So, it looks like everything turned out okay for Billy. He's forgiven for the whole running away in the middle of the night thing and his family's excited about the pups—not to mention the new clothes.
  • Billy and his dad have some "man-talk" (6.32). (Billy's words, not ours.)
  • And no, it's not about girls. They talk about town, the marshal, the cave and the mountain lion, and all the mean boys in town.
  • But all his sisters want to hear about is what soda pop tastes like. Girls, are we right? (No. We're not right. Billy isn't exactly a spokesperson for gender equality.)
  • Billy tells his dad that he never wants to go to town again. It was dumb and stupid and dumb. (Our words, this time.)
  • Now his dad gets really serious, saying that at some point they're all going to live in town, so the kids can get properly educated. But not just yet.
  • The next day Billy gets his DIY on. He makes his pups a doghouse and some collars from scrap leather and wire.
  • The last thing? He tells his mom that he thinks God helped him get his pups. He's always going to be thankful for that.

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