This paper is about the book Where the Red Fern Grows and also about the author, Wilson Rawls.

Essay by LilLauren87 February 2004

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Wilson Rawls was born in the Oklahoma Ozarks on a small farm. His youth was spent in the Cherokee nation, roaming the hills and river bottoms with his only companion, an old blue tick hound. The small town that he grew up in did not have a school so Wilson's mother taught him and his siblings to the best of her ability. She made it a practice to read to them. He thought that all stories were "girl stories" until his mother read Jack London's Call of the Wild to them. After she read it to all of the children she gave it to Wilson and that became his treasure and he read it at every chance he received. He took it with him everywhere even as he chased raccoons through the woods and climbed the rivers banks. He dreamed of writing a book like it but being too poor to buy pencils and paper, he never dreamed that one-day children would carry around his book as he did Jack London's. As a teenager "Woody" went from place to place working as a carpenter and handyman. Along the way he began to write stories but without having any real schooling his spelling and grammar kept them unsold. To him, each represented a broken dream and was hidden away in a trunk. Right before Wilson was supposed to marry a woman named Sophie, he took the old manuscripts from the trunk and burned them because he did not want his wife-to-be to know about his failed dreams. Later she found out about them and asked him to rewrite one of them. He did so hesitantly, rewriting Where the Red Fern Grows in three weeks of non-stop unpunctuated writing. When he finished he left the house because he did not...