Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls
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In Where the Red Fern Grows, how does Rainie react to his brother’s death?

Rainie is in a state of shock after his brother’s death.

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In Wilson Rawls’s book Where the Red Fern Grows, Rainie Pritchard is profoundly impacted by his brother Rubin’s death. Recall how Rainie was the one who encouraged his brother to beat Billy Colman up for refusing to make his dogs kill the raccoon. Rubin fell on Billy’s hunting ax during the fight and died, so Rainie likely feels that what happened to his brother is partially his fault.

Billy (the narrator) describes what Rainie looked like when he saw Rubin with the ax in his stomach. He explains that Rainie was “paralyzed with fright” and that his mouth was open and his skin was a pale white color. Rainie appeared to be in some sort of daze, and he struggled to explain to his family what had happened because he could barely comprehend how horrible it was himself.

Also, recall how shortly after Rubin died, Billy asked his Papa about Rainie. His father replied, “Rainie just couldn’t seem to get over the shock.” His family eventually decided to take him to the doctor for help. This detail suggests that Rainie is extremely traumatized by the event and that it will be a long time until he is able to process it. His reaction is understandable, since he is just a young boy who witnesses an atrocious event.

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