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Book Report Episode II: Woodsong
Transcript of Book Report Episode II: Woodsong
Book By: Gary Paulsen, Book Report by: Eric Souza
Gary recounts how he would do many things to support his family who was in poverty, all the while the state of Minnesota had a beaver problem and were offering to give small sums of money to anyone who would beavers for them. Gary offered to help trap the beavers and so as he did, his friends offered him 4 dogs and a broken sled to him. Storm, Yogi, Obeah, and Columbia were the dog's names. Gary would run with the dogs in the woods over 3 months across, but in the middle of the winter, he had 3 more dogs adding up to 7 dogs. As he ran one night, he had given them all dog food including Storm, as he stopped and stopped, blood would come out of Storm, he would keep pulling Storm as he thought that was the only thing to do. He stopped to see that Storm kept on pulling for the team even if it cost his health. For the next years Gary would see that Storm would keep on pulling for his last 6 years to come. It was that night with Storm that he learned that he knew nothing about dogs, just like when he saw the deer and wolf. It also teached him that he wanted to know more about this, everything there was to know about dogs. This is where chapter 2 ends
Gary goes to talk about Columbia and how he was different from other dogs, dogs would usually brag about thier bones and such, though Columbia would just chew it, bury it and wait for the next bone to come. Next to Columbia was a dog named Olaf who was very aggressive compared to Columbia who was passive. Olaf would always try to get Columbia to argue with him, but Columbia would just ignore it. So one morning Columbia had sneakily pushed his bone towards Olaf's circle, Olaf wasn't very smart, but he was tough, so Olaf kept straining and fighting and trying to get the bone as Columbia laughed watching him try. This had a reaction to Gary that he never knew before, "If Columbia can plan this out carefully and execute it, then so can a wolf, a deer, a beaver and so on". This had caused Gary to quit trapping animals for money as it showed it was wrong to kill animals. In the middle of January Gary had ran with the group through an old logging trail. Gary didn't use the brakes and so shot off as he landed his knee onto a sharp snag. The dogs were led by Obeah as he came to help Gary up onto his feet, they all helped him get home as he led them to his cabin for safety. As he was in the cabin, he started to think about how the dogs came to rescue him to safety which prompeted him to know what the dogs could teach him. This is where chapter 3 ends
Gary was then on a hundred mile run with new pups who were only over a year old in the deep winter. These pups had each grown up and lived in kennels for all of their lives. As night approached, Gary started a small fire to cook the dog's meat, the pups all jumped and howled in fear as they saw the flames jump up for the first time in their lives. Gary calmed them down and they soon started to accept the fire, but they all kept watching the flames, "they had seen other strange marvels that day and didn't fear them....how come they feared fire?" was Gary's question. As the fire blew out, the pups sang a song, and they have a variety of songs, some happy, and some sad, this song they were singing was the sad one as the fire blew away by the wind. Later when they had ran, Gary let them wander wherever they wanted to go, and they would inspect things for themselves, as night approached, Gar set a fire again, and they let off a howl as the fire came up. A deer ahd ran next to Gary and the pups and stayed and kept watching Gary, in the distance was a pack of wolves trying to hunt the deer, but they had ran away due to the fire, even after that the deer kept staring Gary just to be sure if the wolves left, after a while the doe had left Gary and the pups. After that Gary talks about a bear problem he had at his house, as his house is on the edge of the wilderness, it attracts loads of animals because of food from his house and one of these animals are bears, after winter hibernation, bears want meat for themselves, usually bears would go near his house, he got used to the bears coming so he treated them like pets, one bear he named Scarhead. So one July morning, Scarhead was gone for a day or two, Gary went to the burn enclosure and Scarhead was there, Scarhead had torn some sides off of the burn enclosures, Gary threw a stick at him to get him too shoo away from the enclosure, Scarhead came running towards him and picked him up deciding whether or not to kill him. Scarhead let him go as he went back to the fire of his, as Gary got his gun to kill the bear, he thought why would he kill the bear if it decided to spare his life, as he recollected his memory and lowered his rifle, Scarhead had taught him that he himself was the same as any other animal out there. This is where chapter 4 ends.
Gary had a chicken named Hawk who was a very protective hen who would pretty much do anything to have her chicks away from danger. Once Gary's cat was creeping on the chicks and Hawk had seen him doing it, so she got on his back and rode him like a matador. Hawk would sit on top of a woodpile in Gary's yard to keep watch to see intruders coming near the chicks. As Gary was with a team of pups, he had found 14 eggs near cuddled grass in a nest, it was very calm so he decided to take them. As he got home, he put the eggs under Hawk with the rest of her 10 eggs, the eggs hatched to baby grouses and so Hawk adopted them, as they were chicks, Hawk would call on them to come to her and they would usually do it, but as they kept on growing, they developed good wings to fly with, since chickens are too fat to fly, Hawk would usually call on them but they would keep on flying, and when they kept on flying, Hawk would keep on running around and make lots of noise in frustration. The grouse later grew up and most of them went to the wild, and some stayed with Hawk. This is where chapter 5 ends
Gary was with dogs running all the mornining only to settle in the afternoon when the dogs got tired, Gary set up a campfire and went to sleep for 4 hours. After he woke up, he cleaned the muddled 3 wheeled cart he was using, it took him until 1 in the morning to run with the dogs, and even when he did his lamp's bulb went out. He rode without a bulb only to find a ghostly yellow green light in front of the team, the dogs sang a death song as they watched the haunting glow, Gary approached shivering to the glow as he saw it was from a tree, the glow was caused by phosphorus from the ground up to the tree and kept on glowing from day till night. Another mystery Gary had encountered was when he was trying to get a big fish called a muskie in the hot summer of late August with a dog team in a river. The place was swarmed with flies that by the end of the day Gary's arm was red from the flies, as he was trying to get the muskie, a deer full of flies on her shot up from bushes into the shallow river to drench Gary, as she got rid of the flies because of the water, she stared at Gary, she stared from about 4 or 5 feet away from the dogs and then ran off to the woods. It was pretty strange how she didn't fear the dogs and how she stood so close to the dogs, the dogs were also whimpering from the doe which is strange as they would have normally tried to get the deer as a pack. As Gary had gone close to the doe, it was frozen on it's tracks, dead, Gary thought maybe it was a heart attack or a freak paralysis, but he didn't hesitate, and he moved from the mystery. This where chapter 6 ends.
Gary had a dog named Fred, he would steal food here and there to bring into his kennel to eat, Fred had gotten overweight so Gary placed him on a diet, but he would bury food in the yard to eat, he would hide food in the barn, he would also often steal food. Gary started to walk 2 miles with Fred to lose his weight, though Fred was losing weight, he was also losing temper, he went from a well minded dog to a grumpy old dog. As Gary passed Fred once, Fred jumped up to bite Gary even though he never bit anyone, later to solve his problem, Gary would give Fred piece of food and Fred later became his old self, this was where Gary first dealt with dog's temper. Gary was with a crew of 7 dogs, the leader was a sweet dog named Cookie, all of the dogs being cheerful, he went with them through a bitter weather of a snow showering all of them. This was before Gary learned to trust dogs and that dogs know more about a trail than humans, so everywhere Cookie wanted to go, he forced the other way, every right was a left, every left was a right. They got to a gully, so as soon as they got there, Cookie and the dogs all caused the sled to tumble over the gully, Gary got up to a sled and dogs on top of him and took the time to repackage and check the dogs, the dogs were all silent, never making eye contact to Gary, only looking straightforward, later Gary and the dogs all went to sleep, upon waking up, Gary tried not to make stupid decisions that he would regret and soon the team forgave him and ran with him. Storm would sometimes pick up a stick whenever he was running with Gary, Gary would pick up the stick and inspect it then give it back to him, the stick was meant to be if Gary was doing the right thing or not. When Gary cared about winning, Storm would put the stick down, Gary would try to give it to Storm but he would refuse it which meant Gary was doing bad, Storm grew to be old but he still would use the stick in his old age. When Storm was with Gary, Gary tied Storm to a pole, later when he came back, he saw Storm laying with his head hung up and his body hanging, but the stick was in his mouth, from that day forward Gary blamed himself for not letting Storm live his hours free. This is where chapter 7 ends
Gary's training his dogs to run through the race in a cold blizzard at night,two dogs had frostbitten ears but they kept on moving through the screeching snow, Gary treated them with ointment and made his shelter in the snow, Gary created a stew from the dogs' fat and a can of Chef Boyardee to eat and then went to sleep. As he finished his stew, he had caught a high fever and had delirium which caused him to have hallucinations, he tried and tried to run the team but couldn't, there would always be a short eskimo man that would always straighten out the dogs and manage the sled, while Gary would be in his sleeping bag while the team ran the trail. As he got to his wife, he then went to Alaska to race the Iditarod which is an 1,180 mileace from Anchorage to Nome. This is where the last chapter ends, and this is where the book is divided into a 17 day mark where Gary describes each day in the race.
The setting of the story mainly takes place during an Iditarod race in the icy tundra of Alaska, though occasionally the story goes back into flashbacks. These flashbacks have settings such as, leafy forests, or a comfortable home.
The main characters of the story include the author of the story as the one who narrates the story and the one who's the story is revolved around. The dogs of his sled are also the main characters too, as there's about 17 dogs, but only about 4 dogs who push the story forward. The 4 dogs all have different personalities but carry the story in the end.
The story begins with the main character Gary Paulsen with a group of dogs during a 1,180 mile Iditarod race. He started racing with the dogs through the frozen woods until a white tailed deer had jumped in front of him, he and the dogs saw as the doe had frightened by something, something near them. Wolves jumped up in front of them as a pack, they then started to kill the deer for meat, this then reminded Paulsen of how Disney movies would portray animals as peaceful creatures and nature like a friend, so as he was watching it gave him a gasp as he watched it happen in front of him.It also teached him a lesson about how he really doesn't know anything about nature. This is where chapter 1 ends.
Day 1: Gary's in Anchorage with a 15 dog team to work with, the dogs included in the team are Cookie, Storm, Columbia and Yogi, Gary gets to be the 32nd person to race. As he and the other sleds race, the leader goes the wrong way, it then becomes a round of yelling at the dogs, stopping fights, and dealing with deep snow, they go on the right path and are encountered by an old man with cookies. Gary and the old man sit down to eat and drink tea. Day 1 ends.
Day 2: In the morning Gary then comes to see the beautiful Alaskan range as he sees Mount McKinley neighboring beside him, he didn't get any sleep as the dogs weren't ready to sleep, so as he kept running with the team he started to get hallucinations. He saw the team on fire and tried to put out the fire, he would often follow lights that weren't there, he even imagined a man on his sled with a folder talking about governmental business, it was later at night that the team wanted to sleep. Day 2 ends.
Day 3: Most of this day is spent about Gary and the team climbing and crossing the Alaska Range, they pass 2 villages with sprinting children looking to see the racers come through the village with thier dogs. Gary went to take a nap and soon woke up to see Yogi excitedly jerking around to race, Gary checks his watch to see 4 hours has passed. Day 3 ends.
Day 4: Gary comes through a gorgue with a bunch of boulders around it, he ties himself to the sled and goes through the gorgue, as he goes through, the sled and dogs slip and slide on the ice and the sled's bumped into the boulders, Gary's saved from his tied hand on the sled and the rest of the day is spent Gary and the team recovering. Day 4 ends.
Day 5: Gary sleeps near a cabin on an island in a frozen river, the island's surrounded by monstrous peaks with white fluffy snow, the cabin looks like a jewel as the mountains watch over it. Gary is then ready to go on racing ahead. Day 5 ends.
Day 6: The team goes through a thick forest as Gary is knocked twice off the sled, they all come through a 90 mile post forest fire area where there were dead trees and rocky ground, strangely enough there was no speck of snow in that area. Gary starts to then hallucinate again with the man on his sled, and a buffalo sniffing the sled's leader, they all pass the buffalo who was pretty mellow. Gary takes a shortcut and a big wind of snow bursts in his face as he only sees the front of the sled, they're all soon off the track and the small eskimo man comes to get them on the right track, the man leaves and Gary goes through the darkness. Day 6 ends.
Day 7: Gary comes to a village named Nicolai, there's pairs of roaring engines of snowmobiles as they roar by, a man gives Gary a soda then later puts 3 sodas in his sled. As the team run through a trail, hallucinations start to kick in, Gary starts to see crowds of people cheering and hooraying him, snowmobiles pass by with the loud engines and people coming out of cabins to wave at him. Later as dawn comes, Gary only sees a big tundra and hills full of fuff, no trees to be seen anywhere. Day 7 ends.
Day 8: They went through a vast barren tundra as the lead dog of the sled had kept falling for every 40 yards of boredem as they kept running, Gary would call his name and he would stand up through the long night. In the morning they got to a small cabin to rest into, Gary saw the man at the village who offered him soda in the cabin cooking something in the stove, the man let Gary rest in the cabin. Day 8 ends.
Day 9: The team pass through the quiet and empty ghost town Iditarod, they settle to a campfire and a plane lands near them, a man comes out saying he wants one of Gary's dogs to breed with a wolf, Gary passes on the offer and the plane leaves. They go through some hills and they come across a town named Shageluk with moose chili made from children that Gary eats as he's offered, it was so delicious that he ate 19 bowls of them, they then set out to run up the Yukon River. Day 9 ends.
Day 10: They go through a 180 miles of flat ice and a shivering wind as it cuts through the extra clothes that Gary wears for protection from hypotheria, or in other words the Yukon River. They all went through the wind as the sun comes to shine and warm Gary as he's very cool from the wind. Day 10 ends.
Day 11: They run through the bone shivering air and if Gary stops now his body temperature goes down, so he keeps on running through the cold so he doesn't risk getting sick, while also making short breaths. He encounters a village which marks the end of the run through the river. Day 11 ends.
Day 12: They run uphill and north as that's the way to Nome to end the whole race, they end up in eskimo village on a coast as Gary's greeted by a man who looks just like the small eskimo man who always helps him whenever he's in trouble, the man let Gary stay in his cabin for the night and in the morning they run north to Nome. Day 12 ends.
Day 13: They all go through long hills as the the big blue Bering Sea reflects the flaky clouds shining the sky, the dogs all chase a hare as it outdistances the dogs, but they keep running and Gary has a blast while he's speedin down the hills. Day 13 ends.
Day 14: They have to through the Norton Sound, a place full of rumors from people drifting away to Russia, to people becoming blind, to people becoming insane, they all have to go through the Norton, so Gary goes with doubt in his mind. Day 14 ends.
Day 15: They slide with rush through the frozen water as the wind bursts in their faces and they get to a village where a small boy offers them to come to his house. Gary rests in the warm cabin, dawn comes and Gary sees the boy and the dogs playing together with a squeaky toy and Gary's proud the dogs could get along with little children such as the boy Day 15 ends.
Day 16/17: They all run along a coast as ice breaks into water, the wind blows from the rear that then speeds up the sled to go more faster, they end up on a beach and the rest of Day 16 is on the beach. As it's night and Day 17 begins, they all see lights from Nome in the distance, they get to the line to finish the race, but Cookie's scared of the crowd surrounding her from left to right. Gary drags her to the line and finishes the race, the mayor of Nome approaches Gary and Gary says "We'll be back to run it again". And here, Woodsong ends.