Why is it a compliment to Matt when Attean does not lead him back to the cabin after his visit to Attean's village?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Matt thinks it's a compliment that Attean does not lead him back to the cabin because it's proof that he has earned Attean's respect.

We must remember that Attean primarily treasures the masculine skills of tracking, hunting, and fighting. So, when he stays at the bank instead of leading Matt back, Attean is indirectly saying that Matt is a competent tracker. That's a huge compliment.

Attean's increasing respect for Matt is also based on his gratefulness for the latter's efforts on behalf of his dog. Despite his injuries, Matt took it upon himself to brave the long journey to Attean's village. He also swam across the river.

When he arrived, Matt braved the forbidding welcome by Attean's grandmother to plead for help for Attean's dog. For his part, Attean understands his grandmother's hatred for white men. So, he is touched that Matt was willing to face such a welcome in order to save his dog.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 19, Matt is invited to Attean’s village by Attean’s grandmother. She was impressed that Matt, a white boy, would save a Native American’s dog. On this trip to the village, as before, Attean shows Matt the way to the village. During the visit, it is clear that Attean and his tribe accept Matt. He feels as if he has gained their respect.

In the past, after visiting the village, Attean walked Matt all the way back to his cabin, showing him the way. However, Attean has been teaching Matt how to track his way through the woods as the boys went hunting, fishing or to visit the village. This time, when leaving the village, Attean only travels with Matt long enough to take him across the water in his canoe. Once there, even though it is dark, Attean lets Matt out but does not follow him as before to walk him back to the cabin. Matt realizes that Attean believes in his skill and abilities to make it through the woods alone. This respect from Attean is a compliment to Matt.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial