The Education of Little Tree

by Forrest Carter

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In The Education of Little Tree, what kind of person is Granpa?

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The Education of Little Tree, an autobiography by Forrest Carter, begins with Forrest losing his parents and being taken in by his full Cherokee grandparents, Granma and Granpa, despite initially clinging to his half-Cherokee grandfather. Despite Forrest's initial resistance to go home with Granpa and Granma, they both do their best to comfort him and help him feel safe. In this moment and throughout the account, Granpa is depicted as patient, steady and caring.

Granpa teaches Forrest many valuable lessons about nature, the world around him, and running the still used to make the whiskey that serves as the income for the family. He refuses to compromise his values and do things, including crafting his whiskey, in the easier, faster ways that others have started to use. Also, when Forrest makes an error in judgement and buys a diseased calf on a trip into town, Granpa does not punish him, but allows him to learn from his mistake. When events happen that Forrest does not understand, Granpa explains them to him. He teaches Forrest what he believes to be one of the most valuable lessons, that to love a person means to understand them.

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