The most heartbreaking story begins in the perspective of Travis, a young boy who lives with his family on a farm. His father went to Kansas to collect cattle and livestock and bring them back to the farm. Travis lives with his mother, Katie, and his younger sibling, Alriss. Travis finds a golden retriever, whose scream sounds like a blend between human and wolf. His yellowish fur forces Travis to call him “Old Yeller.” Initially, Travis saw Old Yeller as simply a problem because he occasionally stole meat. However, Alriss loved Old Yeller and played with him. Old Yeller proved to be an asset by defending Alriss from other animals, and ends up growing close to Travis, filling the void created by the temporary absence of his father. In my opinion, this is a lucky find for Travis because he always yearned for a horse, far more than any other boy his age does. A golden retriever is the closest thing he has got to a horse. The entire story essentially builds up the relation between the dog and the family. However, the end requires a tremendous sacrifice. When everything the story has built up shatters at the last moments, the audience is terribly moved and heartbroken. Looking back at it, there were many foreshadowing incidents for this tragedy, but the manner in which Fred Gipson portrays these last moments by reflecting on their entire journey truly depicts a “life flashing before your eyes” scene. Although it was heartbreaking, there was a hidden beauty in the storytelling and narrative of Travis. In a way, this is a coming of age story as young Travis takes on more responsibility, and faces loss, an unfortunate truth of life. His many epiphanies throughout the story also align to this idea.
About This Book
At first, Travis couldn't stand the sight of Old Yeller The stray dog was ugly, and a thieving rascal, too. But he sure was clever, and a smart dog could be a big help on the wild Texas frontier, especially with Papa away on a long cattle drive up to Abilene. Strong and courageous, Old Yeller proved that he could protect Travis's family from any sort of danger. But can Travis do the same for Old Yeller?