In The Sign of the Beaver, what do you think Matt means when he says, "the cold was in the inside?"Matt is worrying about his father. What does he mean when he says this?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Matt is aware that August has long since passed, and much of September as well. His father had been supposed to be back with the family over a month ago, but there is still no sign of him. The weather is starting to get cold, signaling the approach of late fall and winter; the air in the mornings especially is frosty, but more than that,

"there (is) a chilliness inside him as well that neither the sun nor the fire ever quite reache(s)."

The coldness that Matt feels inside is his worry about his father, and the sense of foreboding that something dreadful has happened to him. Like the coldness in the weather brought by the changing of seasons, the "chilliness" Matt feels in his heart increases with the passage of time. Matt's father is a man who keeps his word, and the fact that he has not come back as promised indicates that something unexpected has happened, maybe something terrible, even life-threatening. The longer he is gone, the greater is the likelihood that things might have come to a bad end for him.

Even though Matt entertains the possibility that his father may not come back, he does not give up on him. Although he has been asked by Attean and the Indian tribe to move with them to their new hunting grounds, he declines the invitation, choosing instead to wait for his father despite the doubts that are beginning to haunt him, in the unshakeable belief that the older man will return.