In My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, what does Sam want to prove to his father? Why?

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Sam wanted to prove to his father that he could run away from home and survive on his own. We learn in the second chapter, “In Which I Get Started on This Venture,” that Sam’s father himself had once run away from home in order to catch a ship to...

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Sam wanted to prove to his father that he could run away from home and survive on his own. We learn in the second chapter, “In Which I Get Started on This Venture,” that Sam’s father himself had once run away from home in order to catch a ship to Singapore. But he chickened out and came back before the ship even left the dock. He laughed in disbelief when Sam said he wanted to run away and live on the Gribley land in the Catskills. He told his son, “Sure, go try it. Every boy should try it.” But he obviously didn’t think Sam would have the courage (a) to run away to the Catskills and (b) to survive successfully on his own in the wilderness for more than a year. Sam was intent on proving him wrong. He wanted to impress his father and to show that he was a capable young man. As one of nine children in this large family, Sam probably wanted to show that he was somewhat different than his siblings. He wanted to matter.

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