How does the setting of the book affect Sam Gribley's decisions?

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In My Side of the Mountain , Sam Gribley has run away from his home in New York City in order to live off the land in the Catskill mountains. This setting is key. It could be considered another major character in the book. Everything Sam does and learns about...

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In My Side of the Mountain, Sam Gribley has run away from his home in New York City in order to live off the land in the Catskill mountains. This setting is key. It could be considered another major character in the book. Everything Sam does and learns about is based on his close attention and reaction to the forest and all of the plants and animals that live in it. When he needs a place to live, he hollows out a large hemlock tree. When he needs a door for it, he finds a dead deer that a hunter has abandoned. Then he teaches himself how to process the hide to make a deerskin covering for his doorway. His diet is whatever he can find on the mountain, sometimes through trial and error. He trains a falcon he names Frightful in order to help him hunt rabbits and small game. He takes some of the mussels that raccoon Jessie Coon James digs out of the river, before she can eat all of them herself. When winter comes, Sam learns how to keep warm from a fire properly ventilated in his tree-home. He discovers how much work it is to break out of a thick ice coating. The theme here should not be seen as Man versus Nature; but rather, Man connecting, cooperating, and surviving in and with Nature. Imagine how much you would learn and know about your own natural habitat if you had to live with its resources alone, and not with anything you could buy at a store. This is how important the mountain environment is to Sam. It has become his life and his livelihood.

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