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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 186

One of the main themes in Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard is friendship. Danny and Red become good friends from the time they see each other. Their friendship becomes stronger as they embark on many adventures in the wilderness. Furthermore, their friendship is tested when Danny decides to hunt a bear.

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Another theme that is manifested in the story is that of economic disparity. Danny and his father are not rich. In fact, they live in a single-roomed house. However, Mr. Haggin, Danny’s neighbor, is a wealthy man. He even employs Danny at his ranch and gives him an expensive dog. Mr. Haggin has built small mansions for his workers at his ranch while Danny’s family stays in a small house.

Furthermore, hunting is a theme that Kjelgaard decides to use in the book. Danny and Red go after a big bear known as ‘Old Majesty.’ Danny hunts the bear just as his family has for many years. Moreover, the fact that they hunt together is realistic to what happens in real life. In many places, both men and women go hunting with dogs.

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Critical Essays