My Side of the Mountain

by Jean George

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What is the main conflict in My Side of the Mountain by Jean George?

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I would say the main conflict of My Side of the Mountain is an external man vs. nature conflict. In the beginning of the book, Sam Gribley decides to live on his own out in the wilderness. He does this in a manner befitting an extreme survivalist because when he leaves civilization, he has minimal supplies. Sam doesn't take food or a lot of tools. He leaves New York in May with “a penknife, a ball of chord, an ax, and $40,” as well as flint and steel for making fires.

That is an exceptionally small amount of gear. I like camping, but Sam puts me to shame. Throughout the novel, he is continually in conflict with the nature that surrounds him. Not only does he have to deal with the challenges of finding decent shelter, but he also has to hunt and forage for food. Because his diet is so meager, Sam struggles with vitamin deficiencies and very low calorie intakes. As winter approaches, Sam discovers his meager supplies cannot adequately deal with winter conditions.

Toward the end of January I began to feel tired, and my elbows and knees were a little stiff. This worried me. I figured it was due to some vitamin I wasn't getting, but I couldn't remember which vitamin it was or even where I would find it if I could remember it.

As the book moves toward its conclusion, Sam's conflict turns into an internal conflict. Sam must decide to continue living on his own or return to his family.

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Sam Gribley is a city kid who runs away from New York city to live in a tree on his ancestral land in the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. The main conflict of the plot is man versus nature. Sam has read about and studied some outdoor and survival skills, but this is the first time he has a chance to use these techniques. Each day is a learning experience for him. He learns about edible plants. He trains a young falcon to help him hunt for meat. He makes his own tools, and hollows out a large hemlock tree to use as a house. The case could also be made that an additional conflict is man versus civilization. Sam wants to be on his own, and he doesn’t want to be found. He goes into town on occasion, but only when he needs to. After about six months on the mountain, a few people begin to find him, too.

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What is the main problem of My Side of the Mountain?

Sam Gribley is a city kid who runs away from his family and home in New York City to go to live in the woods in the Catskill Mountains. He takes only a penknife, a ball of cord, an ax, and $40. With these supplies, he has to cover the basics of life: food and shelter. The trees give him at least a little protection in the beginning. So finding food turns out to be a daily challenge. He has already read books about some survival skills, like what kinds of plants are edible in the wild, but he has never done anything like this on his own. He teaches himself how to prepare and eat a variety of wild foods: frogs’ legs, rabbits, violet tubers, cattail roots, and much more. He trains a young falcon he names Frightful to hunt for him. And he allows a young raccoon named Jessie Coon James to dig up mussels in the stream for him to eat, too. Some of Sam’s homemade recipes appear in the book. Learning how to survive in the wild is Sam’s biggest problem in this year-long adventure. And he does pretty well at it.

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What is the conflict in the book My Side of the Mountain?

The main conflict in “My Side of the Mountain” is represented by the overriding theme of man versus nature. Sam Gribley is a city kid who runs away from his New York City home to the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. Although he has read at least one library book on survival skills, he has never used these techniques in the woods and does not appear to have even camped out on his own. He had to learn how to prepare and eat a variety of wild foods. He had to figure out a good “home,” which ended up being a hollowed-out giant hemlock tree. He made his own clothes out of deer hide. He taught himself quite a lot in the year he spent on the mountain.

The case could also be made that the reason Sam went to the woods to begin with was because of a casual challenge by his father. We learn in the second chapter, “In Which I Get Started on This Venture,” that Sam’s father had once run away from home as a youngster in order to catch a ship to Singapore. But he chickened out and came back quickly. He laughed when Sam said he wanted to run away and live on the Gribley land in the Catskills. He said, “Sure, go try it. Every boy should try it.” But obviously, he didn’t think Sam would have the courage to do it. We could say the whole premise of this adventure was the friendly conflict between Sam and his father.

And the case could also be made that this was not only the story of Sam versus nature, but Sam versus civilization. He wanted to be on his own out there. He tried to hide whenever random people entered the woods, because he didn’t want to be found out. This didn’t work. He was found out. But we also get the impression that he may have been missing human contact after six months, even though he was surrounded by his animal “friends.” In the 16th chapter called “In Which Trouble Begins,” Sam decided to go to town on a Sunday, wearing his deerskin clothing. He got strange looks from the townspeople, of course. Soon afterward, newspaper articles appeared about a wild boy living in the woods. Did Sam go to town that day in order to be discovered? Maybe. This incident marked one of the turning points in the book. Sam versus civilization is yet another conflict here.

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What is the conflict in the book My Side of the Mountain?

I guess the main conflict in the book is boy vs nature, Sam struggling to find a way to survive in the woods without help. Sam has many adventures learning how to live -- cooking fish, burning out the tree for a house, climbing after crow eggs, or braving the attack of a falcon to steal a falcon chick to train. Other adventures have to do with avoiding or dealing with hunters and other people who stumble upon him or come looking for him. Later, the conflict becomes internal -- after proving to himself that he can survive, the question becomes whether he should keep doing it or go back to civilization. This conflict is resolved for him, however, when his family decides to join him in the woods.

There is another way to think about the conflict though, which is to consider the question of self-reliance and whether it is possible to be truly self-reliant. In this sense, the conflict is between Sam, and his desire to "prove" himself, and his father, who gives Sam permission to go to the farm, but, in the end, never fully lets go. To the extent that Sam is always living in opposition to, or in relationship to, his family and civilization, he is always dependent (psychologically) on others. In other words, his struggle is to change into something other than a boy from New York; that he is never fully able to do so is suggested by the "happy ending," when he is reunited with his family.

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What is the conflict in the book My Side of the Mountain?

Sam Gribley lives in New York City with his  family of eleven. When the family cancels their vacation to the mountains, Sam is determined to live alone in the woods, adapting to and surviving nature's challenges. Surprisingly, his parents do not resist the idea. Sam is challenged by all nature can throw at him in the way of weather and animal behavior. His observations of the wild lead to his success in beating the odds of a modern day child surviving in the woods with no help from other humans and little in the way of supplies.

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What was the conflict on My Side of the Mountain?

"My Side of the Mountain" tells the story of Sam Gribley and his decision to live on his own in the wilderness.  The main conflict surrounding Sam is the conflict of survival.  When he left civilization, he had minimal supplies.  Sam didn't take lots of food or tools.  

It is May when he leaves New York with “a penknife, a ball of chord, an ax, and $40” as well as a flint and steel for making fires.

That's what I would call an extreme bare minimum.  Sam is continually in conflict with the nature that surrounds him.  He must hunt and forage for food.  He must deal with vitamin deficiencies.  He has to deal with changing weather conditions and the lack of a great shelter.  Because of the limited supplies that Sam took, he didn't even have the right kinds of clothes to deal with the changing conditions.  The month of January was especially hard on Sam.  

Toward the end of January I began to feel tired, and my elbows and knees were a little stiff. This worried me. I figured it was due to some vitamin I wasn't getting, but I couldn't remember which vitamin it was or even where I would find it if I could remember it.

At the end of the novel, Sam's conflict turns internal.  He must decide to continue living on his own or to return to his family.  

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What is the main conflict in My Side of the Mountain?

This novel is a chronicle of Sam's year of living in the wilderness. During his time on the mountain, Sam is challenged to find ways to take care of his basic needs for food and shelter. Much of his story is also concerned with Sam's need for companionship - a need that proves to be, ultimately, the central conflict of the novel. 

Sam quickly learns how to take care of his basic needs in the woods, living off the land proficiently and happily. With his survival needs met, Sam's social needs move to the forefront of his narrative. 

First, he makes friends with the animals of the forest.

Sam's closest companions in the woods are Frightful, a trained peregrine falcon; Jesse Coon James, a raccoon; and Baron Weasel.

 

These creatures offer some friendship for Sam, but soon the company of these animals is not enough. When Bando shows up on the mountain, Sam is drawn to him, despite the fact that Sam believes Bando is a criminal on the run. 

Bando is the first human friend Sam makes on the mountain, but not the last. When spring finally comes Sam is surprised to find that he is open to the friendship of other boys his age. He seeks out people instead of running away to maintain his privacy on the mountain, even scheduling visits with Bando and and Matt. 

Through Sam's changing attitudes toward the benefits of isolation, the novel's central conflict and theme find expression. 

The book develops the theme of independence versus the need for relationships...

Sam begins the novel wanting to be alone and ends the novel accepting the comfort of family and companionship.

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