My Side of the Mountain

by Jean George

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At the end of My Side of the Mountain did Sam's family stay with him?

At the end of My Side of the Mountain, Sam's family decides to leave the city and move up to the mountain near Sam. They want to live on the old Gribley farm and enjoy nature with Sam.

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In the book My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Sam’s family eventually came to stay with Sam. Although Sam spent much time alone in the wilderness, his family travelled to the wilderness to live with Sam.

When Sam first saw his family arrive, he was elated. Sam was quite surprised to see his whole family in the wilderness. Initially, he thought that only his father returned to visit him, but he soon realized that his whole family was there. As the text reveals:

“Then I jumped in the air and laughed for joy. I recognized my four-year-old brother’s pleasure song. The family! Dad had brought the family!”

After reuniting with his family, Sam was shocked to discover that his family planned on living in the wilderness with him. Sam had become self-sufficient and accustomed to living without his family. However, his mother decided that they would live with Sam. As his mother states:

“When you are of age, you can go wherever you please. Until then, I still have to take care of you, according to all the law I can find.”

Thus, Sam’s family came and stayed with Sam in the wilderness. Although Sam lived independently for many months, his family eventually came to join him.

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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.

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