How does Sam compare and contrast with the weasel in Jean George's My Side of the Mountain?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Jean George's My Side of the Mountain, one similarity between Sam and the weasel, whom he calls The Baron Weasel, is their bravery. When Sam first meets The Baron, he calls him the bravest animal he has ever met. Sam had captured The Baron in his box trap, and just as he was peeping inside the trap to see what he had caught, The Baron squeezed himself out. The Baron had then charged Sam, jumped onto his shoulder, and had given him a "lecture that [Sam] shall never forget" (p. 51). The Baron then vanished into some bushes but popped up again "about five feet away" to continue his lecture. When Sam tries to chase him away, saying, "Scat!," The Baron's response is to charge towards Sam, place his paws on Sam's pants, and look Sam in the face, still scolding him (p. 51). He then jumps onto Sam's head and tries to wrestle Sam by grabbing a mouthful of his hair, but when Sam does not fight back, The Baron goes off, feeling triumphant.

Just like The Baron, Sam has shown a great deal of bravery in tackling something far larger than he is--he has tackled nature and learned to survive. Another similarity between The Baron and Sam is their mode of survival: Both create dens for themselves and both forage and store up provisions.

A difference between The Baron and Sam is that Sam is more practical than The Baron. The Baron proves himself to be a practical joker, which Sam sees when, one day accompanying Sam and Frightful out to the meadow, The Baron decides to jump onto Sam's pant leg and bight his ankle. As Sam chases The Baron home, he has "the uneasy feeling that [The Baron] was laughing as he darted, flipped, buckled, and disappeared" ( p. 62). Later, Sam informs his readers that The Baron continues to attack him but "more for the fun of being sent sprawling out into the snow than for food" since The Baron hadn't bitten Sam for months (p. 142). Though Sam has his fun, such as making up songs, Sam would never do anything as impractical as attack someone/something just for the fun of being shooed away.

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