What is the main conflict in "Old Yeller"?

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The main conflict, or problem, in Old Yeller concerns Travis's inner maturation. When the fourteen-year-old is suddenly thrust into the role of head of the household, he has to deal with inner conflict, as well as outer conflict involving his household, wild animals, thieves, and hostile neighbors.

Old Yeller appears as a stray just after Travis's father leaves on a cattle drive. The dog earns Travis's love by driving a bear away from Travis's little brother, Arliss, and later protects the family by scaring off other animals. In a way, Yeller becomes a surrogate father for Travis; the dog is a being who loves Travis unconditionally and a soul to whom Travis can confide his troubles.

Travis's inner turmoil reaches its climax when Yeller gets rabies while fighting off a wolf. He knows that, for the good of his family, he has to shoot Yeller. This signifies his maturation from boy to man. At the end of the novel, Travis adopts one of Yeller's puppies from a neighbor's litter and, along with it, a new understanding of life, death, and the cycles of time.

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There is not just one conflict in the novel. Several events, or conflicts, occur to help carry the story along. If you want to put it in a nutshell, you might say the conflict is the hardship of life in 19th century Texas.

The overriding conflict is that the father is away on a cattle drive, leaving his wife and young sons to fend for themselves. Having to be the "man of the house" puts Travis into conflict with his little brother, Arliss, who wants to play and doesn't recognize Travis as an authority figure. Arliss creates another conflict when he finds the "old yeller dog" and begs to keep him. Travis is set against keeping the dog, but eventually he begins to grow attached to the dog as well. And that attachment creates another conflict when Yeller is infected with rabies.

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What is the main problem in Old Yeller by Fred Gipson and how is it solved?

The main problem in Old Yeller is how Travis will adapt to taking care of his mother and young brother while his father is away from the family on a cattle drive. In addition, Travis has to deal with the arrival of a unkempt stray dog who he names Old Yeller in recognition of the dog's yellow coat. At first, Old Yeller seems like he will only bring additional work to Travis, who has his hands full already. For example, Old Yeller plays in the family's drinking water with Travis's brother, Arliss. However, the problem of how Travis will handle all of his new responsibilities, including Old Yeller, is resolved when Old Yeller becomes a help rather than a hindrance to Travis and his family. The dog saves Arliss from an angry mother bear and helps Travis herd an unruly cow on the farm. In the end, unfortunately, Old Yeller must be shot when he contracts rabies from a wolf. 

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What is the main problem in Old Yeller?

The main problem in Old Yeller is how Travis Coates, who is 14, will be able to take care of his mother and younger brother, Little Arliss, while his father is away on a long cattle drive. Part of Travis's dilemma is how he will handle Old Yeller, the name he gives the mangy dog who shows up at the family's house and consumes all their meat.

At first, Travis struggles to deal with the tasks of being head of the house, and he also struggles to control Old Yeller. The dog cavorts in the family's drinking water with five-year-old Arliss and fails to go after two bulls who are fighting. However, Old Yeller then saves Arliss from a bear, and the dog becomes invaluable to Travis in catching the heifer, Spot, who has run away. Old Yeller also saves Mama and Lisbeth, a neighbor, from a rabid wolf, but, as the dog has contracted rabies, Travis must shoot Old Yeller. In the end, Travis, though sick at heart after killing the dog, has proved that he can serve ably as the head of his household. 

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What is the central conflict in Old Yeller?

The central conflict of Old Yeller is largely internal. The protagonist, Travis, has been made the man of the house when his father departs for a cattle drive. Fourteen-year-old Travis is still a child, both physically and emotionally, so this deep sense of responsibility is new for him. He has issues getting his five-year-old brother, Arliss, to listen to him, for instance.

The appearance of Old Yeller increases Travis's inner conflict. At first, he doesn't know what to do with the dog and finds the animal more trouble than he's worth as he eats the family's meat. However, Old Yeller becomes a protective figure, saving Arliss from a bear and staving off a rabid wolf. He is almost a fatherly surrogate figure, providing safety and companionship to Travis.

Travis's inner conflict comes to a head when Old Yeller contracts rabies after fighting the wolf. The dog is now a danger to Travis and his family. Travis's duty is to protect his family, but the child part of him loves Old Yeller and does not want to kill him. However, Travis chooses to fully step into adulthood and so shoots Old Yeller, his last link to childhood.

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What is the main conflict in Old Yeller by Fred Gipson?

Fred Gipson's Old Yeller is full of conflicts, so the answer to this question could vary significantly depending on the reader and how specific one might want to get. The most evident conflict, however, is the conflict between man and nature. 

Travis has been left in charge of his family while his father is away; he and his mother and younger brother “will be left in a wild frontier settlement to make out the best they [can].” Many things happen to make Travis's life difficult; among them is the arrival of a troublesome stray named Old Yeller. 

Travis has countless struggles throughout the novel, and most of them involve his surroundings and the animals, both wild and tame, which he encounters. All of these constitute a conflict with nature. Time after time, Travis is confronted with life-and-death decisions, and all of them involve nature in some form. For that reason, the primary conflict in this novel is between man and nature in its various forms.

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