My Side of the Mountain

by Jean George

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What are the literary elements in "My Side of the Mountain"?

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My Side of the Mountain by Jean George begins with a diary entry, which illustrates an epistolary element. The point-of-view of the narration is in the first-person, giving the novel a cerebral or stream-of-consciousness style, which is complimentary to sections of the novel in which Sam, the protagonist, ponders philosophical inquiries and makes vivid observations of his surroundings. It also allows Jean George, through the character of Sam, to insert commentary on the complex and tense dynamics between civilization and the wild.

The narrative structure of the novel is quite straightforward and simplistic, which matches the protagonist's age and the story's setting. Similar to Christopher McCandless' Into the Wild, the narrative flow of My Side of the Mountain is easy to follow, and is filled with examples of first-person observations on his surroundings and relationships with various characters.

Many of the details found in the book regarding survival techniques are factual and can serve as a blueprint for potential off-the-grid survivalists in the Catskill Mountains. This gives the novel a partially-nonfiction element, and is reminiscent of essayist John McPhee's nonfiction works on the American landscape and wilderness.

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