What Is a Theme of the Story "Stone Fox"?

Forest in Rocky Mountains

In the children’s book "Stone Fox" by John Reynolds Gardiner, 10-year-old protagonist Willy takes on adult responsibilities when his grandfather falls into a deep depression. Willy, aided by his dog, harvests and sells their farm’s potato crop. That is not enough to raise his grandfather's spirits, so Willy tackles an even greater challenge: earning $500 to pay back taxes and save the farm. One of the story’s major themes, perseverance, is expressed through Willy’s relentless striving for success.

Never Give Up

Throughout the book, young Willy faces problems that even adults might struggle with, yet he does not give in to despair. His determination and strength display the theme of perseverance. From the start, Willy must contend with a non-functioning adult. His grandfather has given up, yet Willy does not. When Willy cannot afford to rent a horse for harvesting, he overcomes the obstacle by hitching his dog to the plow. When the back taxes absolutely must be paid, Willy tries unsuccessfully to secure a bank loan. Again, he goes not quit. He takes another route: entering a dog sled race. The competition goes well for Willy until the very end, when his dog collapses. Willy, however, does not. Despite the tragedy, he carries the body of his beloved pet over the finish line and wins.

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