Old Yeller


Key Quotes

“I’ll wear you to a frazzle.”

This line appears in a number of chapters and is often stated by Travis with respect to Arliss, who is usually caught playing in the drinking water. It is an instance of Travis echoing his father. When Arliss says it to Travis in defense of the yeller dog, both Travis and Mama are stunned. Mama is even slightly delighted to hear her youngest son emulating Travis and Papa. This line symbolizes the way Travis desires to fill the role of “man of the house,” by mimicking his father and trying to live up to his responsibilities.

“After that, I couldn’t do enough for Old Yeller.”—chapter 6

This line is stated by Travis after Old Yeller saves the life of Arliss from the angry mama bear. Prior to this incident, Travis hoped to get rid of the yeller dog because it stole meat and ran when Travis tried to call him to chase off the bulls. Neither instance was really the dog’s fault, and here Travis realizes that the dog is actually much more valuable than he at first was willing to admit.

“I was just numb all over, like a dead man walking.”—chapter 15

This line belongs to Travis, as well. He says it upon realizing that he must kill Old Yeller to protect the family. The dog has been bitten by a wolf with hydrophobia, so he must be put down before he turns vicious and infects Arliss or anyone else. It is a hard and terrible thing for Travis to have to do, killing his dog. Yet, he doesn’t cry; He does his duty, and goes numb.

“He’s part Old Yeller,” she said. “And he was the best one of the bunch.”—chapter 16

This line is stated by Lisbeth as she tries to console Travis, who is grieving over the death of Old Yeller. The boy misses his dog terribly, and Lisbeth points out that he has another dog that is like Old Yeller and is even part of Old Yeller (it’s his pup). Lisbeth’s...

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Essays About Old Yeller