Study Guide

Where the Red Fern Grows Man and the Natural World

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Man and the Natural World

Family, dogs, and the woods: these are Billy's top loves (though the order is certainly debatable). The woods are practically a second home to him, and they offer a peace and serenity that is seriously lacking in the hustle and bustle of town. But don't get too comfy. Where the Red Fern Grows never lets us forget how dangerous nature can be. Near-death experience follows near-death experience, until finally the natural world takes Billy's dogs away.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Why is Billy so comfortable in nature? Given that his sisters run away from watching their dad kill the raccoon, is there something about his being a boy that makes him particularly comfortable with nature?
  2. In what ways does Billy show respect for the natural world?
  3. Why does Billy refuse to kill the ghost coon? Especially considering that he chopped down the giant sycamore?
  4. If nature were a human character, how would you describe that person?

Chew on This

Nature and God are the same thing in this novel. Billy doesn't distinguish between nature worship and Christianity.

The death of Billy's dogs severs his connection to nature. Without that connection, he can never return to his childhood home.

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