Elizabeth George Speare's novel The Sign of the Beaver is the story of Matt Hallowell and Attean. This story is an early tale of the conflicts between the white man and Native Americans.
In chapter six, Matt is recovering from his bee stings when an Indian comes into his cabin. This man is Saknis, and he gives Matt a crutch to use. One conflict in this chapter occurs when Matt tries to thank Saknis by giving him a book, knowing that Saknis can't read. Saknis asks Matt to teach his grandson, Attean, but Attean is furious.
In chapter seven, conflict occurs while Matt attempts to teach Attean the alphabet. Matt claims that "a" is for "arm." When he asks Attean to find the letter "a" in the book, Attean thinks the whole page says the word "arm", which makes him think that the book is stupid and foolish.
In chapter eight, Matt and Attean argue about the content of the book Matt is using to help him teach Attean to read. Matt is reading Robinson Crusoe and Attean claims that if Crusoe were an Indian, he would have a better chance of survival, which angers Matt.
In chapter nine, the concept of slavery is discussed. Attean tells Matt that no Indian would ever kneel to a white man. This challenges Matt's way of thinking and encourages him to think more.
In chapter ten, the boys bond over fishing. The major conflict in this chapter comes from Matt's feelings of inferiority when he notices how easily Attean can catch a fish with his spear.
First, in chapter six, Matt wanted to repay Saknis for his care and provisions while taking care of him. The problem he faced was he had nothing to give Saknis but a book that the Indians could not read. Since it would help Saknis if his grandson Attean could read English, Matt agreed that he would repay him by teaching Attean to read.
A second problem occured in chapter seven. Attean arrived for his reading lesson but learning the alphabet one letter at a time proved too frustrating for Attean. The lesson abruptly ended. Matt solved the problem the next time that Attean arrived. In chapter eight, Matt started a lesson by capturing Attean's attention reading "Robinson Crusoe" to him. This solved Matt's problem of how to teach Attean to read.
Another problem occurred in chapter ten when the boys were fishing. Matt could not fish with the spear Attean gave him and used his hook. However, the hook broke off and was lost. Attean solved the problem of the lost hook by teaching Matt how to make hooks from twigs.