Who are the characters in the book Old Yeller?
Old Yeller was published in 1956 and has been a children’s classic ever since. Set in the 1860s, the book focuses on the Coates—a small ranching family in Texas whose patriarch has gone off to work with the other men herding cattle.
The Coates family consists of Travis, an adolescent boy charged with taking care of the family in his father’s absence, his younger brother, Arliss, and their mother, who is called Mama throughout the story. Old Yeller is a dog who wanders onto the farm one day and, in spite of the family’s hesitance to keep him, proves himself to be a valuable addition to the farm by saving each member from the dangers of the under-settled region.
Other characters include Burn Sanderson, the former owner of Old Yeller who comes looking for him but upon realizing his bond with the family, agrees to trade him for a home-cooked meal and a toad.
Bud Searcy is a neighbor who claims to stay behind to help the women while their husbands are away at cattle runs but actually does very little work, chews tobacco all day, and asks the women to prepare food for him. His daughter, Lisabeth, is a more sympathetic character. She is a bright girl around Travis’s age, and her dog Miss. Priss eventually becomes pregnant with Old Yeller’s puppies.
Travis Coates, a fourteen-year-old boy, is the main character in the book. He is left to take care of his mother, who he calls Mama, and little brother, Arliss (who is five) while his father, Papa, is on a cattle drive to make money. Old Yeller is the mangy dog who arrives at the ranch and who Little Arliss insists the family adopt. The dog later becomes invaluable to the Coates family. Another character is Bud Searcy, a man who spits a lot of tobacco juice and relies on people to ask him to dinner. Travis's mother describes Bud as "shiftless" and doesn't particularly like him. Lisbeth is his smart and observant granddaughter who Travis likes. Finally, Burn Sanderson is Old Yeller's former owner who lets the Coates family keep Old Yeller in return for one of Mama's home-cooked meals.
Travis is the main character, and other characters are his Papa, his Mother, his old dog Bell, Old Yeller and Old Yeller's pup , and Little Arliss (his little brother)