Old Yeller

16951 Words68 Pages
Abstract
When people think of the book or the movie, Old Yeller, it is often thought of as a story about the bond between a boy and his dog, a common theme in many TV shows and books. However, Old Yeller, as it turns out, proves to be much more than that; it is a true coming-of-age story. At 14 years old, Travis Coates lives with his mother and little brother, Arliss, in the hill country of Texas during the 1860s when his father must leave home to work on a cattle drive. He leaves Travis to “act a man’s part” and take care of the family in his absence. While working in a cornfield one day, Travis come across Old Yeller and tries to drive him away, but his younger brother, Arliss likes Old Yeller and Mama thinks he would be good for
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Afterall, he had just lost his dog, Bell, to a rattlesnake bite, and the attachment to both Bell and his father cannot be replaced so soon. With his father gone away for several months and Bell dead at the fangs of a rattlesnake, Travis has some major adjustments to make in terms of his “internal model of self.” He needs to take on the rolf of a man. He has many conflicting roles to deal with—disciplinarian to his younger brother, Arliss, only to get scolded by his mother for doing so which leaves him feeling there is no winning because of the conflict caused by assuming so many roles—boy, playmate, man, and protector. These conflicts frustrate Travis who thought it was not fair and thinks to himself, “how could I be the man of the family if nobody paid any attention to what I thought or said…I sulked and felt sorry for myself all the time…[and] the more I thought of it the angrier I at got at that big yeller dog.” (Gibson 1956). Travis feels offended, too, that Lisbeth turns out to be a big help. She helps by getting the water and gathering the corn, and has a good time laughing with Mama and Arliss. It hurts Travis’ pride to see him so easily replaced by a girl. He consoles himself by remembering that he can hunt, mark hogs and swing an axe, and she cannot (studymode 2014).
John Bowlby, a reknowned psychiatrist, whose specialty wrote scholarly articles on attachment, is cited in Melancholia and Maturation (Tribunella 2010), and
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