My Side of the Mountain

by Jean George

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Why did Sam name his bird "Frightful"?                                               

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Interesting question! In the book My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Sam desires to possess and train a falcon. Although Sam realizes that this will be an exceptionally challenging task, he overcomes the many difficulties to fulfill his goal.

Foremost, Sam must climb a cliff to obtain his falcon. With this experience, Sam overcomes the physical intensity and mental fear of climbing a cliff.

Furthermore, Sam must take a baby falcon from her mother’s possession. After Sam reaches the baby falcons, the baby's mother attacks Sam. As the text reveals:

“She [the falcon’s mother] had hit me. She winged out, banked, and started back for another strike.”

After overcoming all of these monumental barriers, Sam finally possesses his falcon. He names the bird “Frightful” because of the horrifying experiences he encounters to get her. As the text demonstrates:

“Frightful, as I called her right then and there because of the difficulties we had had in getting together. . .”

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