Where the Red Fern Grows
By Wilson Rawls
Chapter 1 Vocabulary
Pertaining to cleanliness
Satisfy or extinguish.
Persuade or urge
In a state of sleep or
• Whimper:
• Cry with feeble, whining
Why did the story begin with the
narrator observing a dog fight?
• This observation touched off old memories and
introduced the story, as told in a flashback.
• What is a flashback?
• In a literary work, a flashback is an interruption of
the action to present events that took place at an
earlier time. A flashback provides information
that can help a reader better understand a
character’s current situation.
The narrator said, “I raised one of his
paws. There I read the story.”
• What does the word
“read” mean in this
• How was the man able
to “read” a story into
what he saw on the
dog’s paw?
• The worn and slick pads
of his paws indicated
that he had traveled a
long distance.
Why did the man come to the aid of
the hound?
• He had memories of an earlier time when a
hound had saved his life
• He felt the hound was up against unfair odds.
How did the man feel when he saw the
condition of the hound?
• He was upset.
• He almost cried at what he saw.
Why was the man overcome by a
“strange feeling” when the hound left
his home in the darkness?
• The dog had brought
memories of the love and
devotion of hounds from his
boyhood days.
Chapters II & III Vocabulary
Mouth covering
Chapter II & III Questions
• What was Billy’s
“terrible disease” when
he was ten years old?
• Why didn’t Billy want
Old Man Hatfield’s
• Why do you think he
calls this a disease?
• It wasn’t a hunting dog.
• He had a burning desire
to own hunting dogs;
• He called it a “disease”
because of the terrible
way it afflicted him and
controlled his life.
• Why wasn’t Billy able to
get the dogs he
• His father couldn’t
afford them.
• How did the discovery
of the magazine change
Billy’s life?
• It contained an ad for
two hounds from a
Kentucky kennel.
• (registered redbone
coon hounds)
• What were some of the • How did Grandpa react
things Billy did to earn
when Billy gave him he
• How long did it take him • He was astonished and
to earn enough money.
proud that his grandson
was able to save up all
• He sold hides to fur
that money.
buyers and vegetables
and bait to fishermen.
• It took two years.
Chapters IV, V and VI
• Leaving the main part of
town, I started up a long
street through the
residential section. I had
never seen so many
beautiful houses.
• Definition: area suitable for
• While the pups were busy
playing. I dragged up several
large timbers and built a fire
which would last for hours.
• Heavy beams
Vocabulary 4-6
• The girl pup was small and
delicate. She must have
been a runt in a litter.
• Undersized animal of
• With a querying look on his
face, he said, “I’m afraid I
don’t understand. I thought
you always wanted to go to
• questioning
Questions Chapters 4-6
• Why did Billy decide to go for the dogs
• He didn’t want to wait a week.
• Were you surprised that he did?
• What was Billy’s first impression of
• He was afraid of Tahlequah and the
townspeople; he had never seen such a big
town and so many people.
• What incidents in town serve to point out the
differences between Billy’s background and that
of townspeople?
• His fear of the marshal; his encounter with the
children at the school; his surprise at seeing his
reflection in the window; his fight with the boys
in town.
• Why do you think the boys in town provoked Billy
into a fight?
• He was an outsider, a hillbilly; he was different
from them. They saw him as a figure of fun,
someone who would be an easy target.
How did Billy show his resourcefulness and courage
when the mountain lion prowled outside the cave?
• He knew that mountain lions were afraid of
fire, so he threw more wood on the fire;
• He started whooping and throwing rocks
down the mountainside to scare the lion away.
• How did Billy decide on the names for his
• He saw the names carved in the bark of a
sycamore tree.
Why did his parents want to move to town
some day?
• They wanted Billy to get a proper education.
• Until now he had learned to read and write
from his mother.
Questions for Discussion
• In Chapters II and III, we
meet the members of
Billy’s family.
• What kind of
relationship did Billy
have with each of
• What was special about
his relationship with his
• Why do you think Billy
kept his plan for saving
money a secret from his
• Billy said, “I was a
hunter from the time I
could walk.”
• What do you think he
meant by that?
Language Skills: Hyphenated Words and
Descriptive Language
• Billy’s use of language
throughout the book has
a distinctive rural, country
• It is filled with colorful
descriptive phrases and
hyphenated words.
• Billy often uses words
such as “dog-wanting,”
“new-looking,” “cleanswept” and “homeleaving.”
• Make up five original
hyphenated expressions
of your own and use
them in sentences.
Billy uses descriptive language to evoke vivid
images. Explain what is meant by each of the
following passages from the book:
• I saw the hurt in his
eyes. It made me feel
like someone was
squeezing water out of
my heart.
• The land was rich, black
and fertile. Papa said it
would grow hair on a
crosscut saw.
• He swelled up like a
sitting hen.

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