Stickeen-Four Levels


  stickeen_picture_book_cover                                              Author:John Muir

Literal Comprehension:

In the summer of 1880 the narrator John Muir was exploring alska region with his friend Mr.Young.Mr. Young brought a dog with him named Stickeen which was given by some Iris people to Mr.Young’s wife.The dog was so small like a little baby.The narrator didn’t like the idea of taking the dog with them as it was very small but after the huge request of his friend he takes the dog Stickeen to  icy cold region of Alaska. The creature proves to be a interesting company in the journey. It always followed the narrator even leaving its own master. It never complains. It did not love anyone and did not allow anyone to do so. It did not leave the narrator when he was making the most measurable journey in his life. That day he left the comp early in the raring morning with breakfast in his pocket. The dog some how follow him. They were walking in the snow. There were many crevasses on the way. The narrator crossed them carefully but the dog was moving like the flying cloud. It did not notice any danger. After reaching the end, they were returning to the camp. On the way they were trapped on the island surrounded by crevasses (holes). The only way to cross it was Sliver Bridge. The narrator cut notches (V shape holes) on the bridge. After he crossed the bridge, he again had to cut the holes at the other end to climb up. After he reached the other side he called the dog. But it did not come because it had wisely sensed the danger. When the writer repeatedly threatened to leave it there, it very carefully crossed the bridge. And afterwards it was so happy that it cried and danced and dashed. From that day on, it likes to be a close to the narrator. It might have thought that the narrator was its god


This story might be trying to tell us about the human and animals relationship.It also tells that experience teaches us more than any thing else. The dog Stickeen changed completely after it successfully cross the silver bridge and save its life. It may also be interpreted to mean that there are many things which we find in animals and human beings equally. Friendship and gratitude are equally found in animals.

Critical Thinking:

This beautiful story has many points which are normally unacceptable to us. 
  • Why do people explore such remote place by putting their lives in danger? 
  • Why the Stickeen followed the narrator instead of his master?
  • Don’t they die of cold when they are wet in the icy cold region? Otherwise this story is really impressive. It makes us feel as if we are with the writer making the journey.


After reading this story I came to know so many things about Alaska. I also learned that beauty in nature and danger are interwoven that experience makes one perfects is true even in the case of animals.
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Author: smriti