Symbolism Employed In The Novel “Where The Red Fern Grows” By Wilson Rawls Essay

Dogs are treated as people and are always shed love and appreciation, especially in western countries. These animals are the physical embodiment of loyalty, courage, and security. Four of those traits are also symbolized as one of the best parts of a human spirit. Trees are an important symbol of nature as well as an aide to help human breathe and live. Symbolism is erected everywhere human beings go and land. As steps are being taken, whether it is subtle or not, symbolism follows and will become apparent to everyone. Symbolism is successfully employed in the children’s novel, “Where The Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.

Dogs are given the title of a “man’s best friend”, and these animals do live up to that title. Through the years, ever since dogs have been domesticated, the bond between man and dog goes on to be deeper and sometimes, older. The entire novel’s focal point is Billy’s journey living and losing his three beloved dogs. The relationship between man and dog is that the dog always brings the best of the owner. Billy sees these dogs as symbolizing the best parts of the human spirit: loyalty, security, and courage. “To him it made no difference how long the road, or how rough or rocky. His old red feet would keep jogging along mile after mile. There would be no crying or giving up. […] Through the rains, the snows, or the desert heat, he would jog along, never looking back.” This tells readers that eventually, all the dogs Billy will own leave him a certain way. Buddie, Old Dan and Little Ann, similarly, left mystically. Old Dan and Little Ann leave behind the red fern, while Buddie disappears “in the twilight shadows”.

From this, it may be said that dogs help Billy be the best the person he can be: kind, caring, and courageous, and as well as a representation of the nature of childhood. Trees are at every park, every road, and every sidewalk. Trees are an important symbol of nature. Early human beings recognized trees to be living beings. Humans have to depend on groves as sources for food, shelter and raw materials. Their importance caused humans to imagine power and spirit animating surrounding trees. In this novel, a sycamore tree is a physical and emotional test for the protagonist. When a person comes across a large and old tree, they would want to preserve it and take goofy pictures with it. But to Billy, he wants to cut it down. It symbolizes his dedication and persistence to prove his loyalty to his dogs. Later on, he becomes emotional for he has to say goodbye to his life before the dogs. “I knew I would miss the giant of the bottoms, for it had played a wonderful part in my life”. The tree represents a piece of his childhood that he must cut away to grow up. With each adventure and danger that he faces with his dogs, Billy moves farther away from childhood. The chopping down of the tree is his first step on that path to adulthood.

Dogs are the physical embodiment of loyalty, courage, and security. Four of those traits are also symbolized as the best parts of the human spirit. Trees are an important symbol of nature as well as an aide to help human breathe and live. As steps are being taken, whether it is subtle or not, symbolism follows and will become apparent to everyone. The entire novel shares the adventures and the relationship between a boy and his dogs. With that being said, symbolism is successfully employed in the children’s novel, “Where The Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.

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