Explain why the sum of $300 is so important to Billy and his family in Where the Red Fern Grows?
The story Where the Red Fern Grows takes place on a poor farm in Oklahoma's Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression. Life is terribly hard during those times, and three hundred dollars is a very large amount of money. It has been a dream of Papa and especially Mama to be able to someday save enough money to be able to move away from the farm and into the town, so that the children could get a proper education. Although Papa has worked hard to make the farm clothe and feed the family, there never seems to be anything left over to put towards their dream. When Billy gets his dogs, however, Papa puts aside "every cent" of what Billy earns from selling the furs from the game the hounds help him catch, and that, along with the jackpot money Old Dan and Little Ann win in the Championship Coon Hunt, totals over three hundred dollars, enough to enable the family to finally make the move about which they have long dreamed.
Because they know how much Billy loves his dogs, and the country in which he has grown up, Papa and Mama at first decide to leave him behind with his Grandpa. When Old Dan is killed by a wildcat, however, and Little Ann, unable to live without her lifelong mate, follows him in death soon afterwards, the family moves to town all together. Although Billy, mourning his dogs, does not have the heart to see it in the same light, Papa wonders if perhaps the tragedy might not have been the work of Providence, so that the family would stay intact. Billy, on his part, feels only sorrow, but takes comfort in the possibility that his dogs might be in a better place with God.