Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 366
1. Why do you think Sam is drawn so strongly to his great-grandfather's land? Why is the land called "Gribley's Folly"? Why don't his parents search for him and try to bring him home?
2. What does Sam do wrong on his first night in the wild? Why does he make these mistakes?
3. Where do you think Sam has learned how to survive in the wild?
4. Why does Sam say that fire is his weapon and that with fire he can "conquer the Catskills"?
5. What is the significance of the names—such as Jesse Coon James, The Baron, Frightful, and Barometer—that Sam gives to his pets?
6. Sam says, "Hunger is a funny thing. It has a kind of intelligence all its own." What does he mean? How does Sam discover that his diet is not providing him with balanced nutrition?
7. Sam calls the river a "clear athletic stream." What does he mean by this?
8. Why is it ironic that the old lady accuses Sam of "playing mumbly pegs with sticks"?
9. Do you think Sam is wise to hide from the fire warden? Why or why not? Do you think Sam is wise to befriend the man he suspects to be an outlaw? Why or why not?
10. Why does Sam wish he could breed a race of humans with hooves?
11. Sam is excited about finding great horned owl eggs in the snow. What is exciting about this discovery?
12. At the end of the year, Sam has built a guest house for his visitors. Why does he say, "a guest house meant I was no longer a runaway"?
13. After a conversation with Tom, Sam becomes dissatisfied with his diary entries and crosses out what he has written. Why does he do this?
14. What does Sam's mother mean when she says, "If he doesn't want to come home, then we will bring home to him"? Does Sam appreciate the arrival of his family? Why or why not?
15. What does Sam mean when he says, "There is no such thing as a 'still winter night'"?
16. Do you agree with Bando that "any normal red-blooded American boy wants to live in a treehouse and trap his own food"? Why or why not?