What did Sam's family decide to do at the end of My Side of the Mountain?
It is interesting that the ending of My Side of the Mountain finds Sam completing his self-discovery journey with those whom he first left: his family. After living and surviving many challenges in nature mainly on his own, Sam matures physically as well as emotionally. Originally, Sam loathed the crowded city and apartment where he lived with his large family, and he longed for space and solitude. He just wanted to be on his own. Before he leaves, all he can think about is his own happiness and desires. As he gained freedom on the mountain, he gained perspective about his family and need for social interaction.
At the end of the novel, readers find Sam pondering his choice to live in solitude. He does meet and spend time with a few other people, which helps him recognize his need for human interaction. Also, his father surprises him at Christmas time with a visit; Sam is amazed by how his father praises Sam and his ability to adapt. In the springtime, Sam starts to contemplate a visit to the city to see his family.
He is not ready to leave his life in nature, and before he can make a decision, his family comes to him. Startled but pleased, Sam cannot believe that his whole family visits him. Likewise, Sam is even more amazed when his parents share that they’re not going to make him come back home to the city. Sam rejoices in this news, but he is surprised again to hear that, instead, his family is going to live nearby on the old family farm on the mountain. Still a young man and not an adult, Sam does recognize his need for his family. The ending provides a pleasing compromise for Sam, as he does not have give up the area that he has come to love.
I could hear the voices of the other people. They filled my silent mountain.