39 pages 1 hour read

Ruth Stiles Gannett

My Father's Dragon

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1948

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Having the Courage to Achieve Your Dreams

Elmer epitomizes the old saying, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Throughout Elmer’s adventure, he proves that he is “tough.” Elmer has the strength to overcome difficult obstacles and achieve his ambitious goal. Elmer shows his bravery with both his optimistic mental outlook and physical courage.

Gannett wrote and published My Father’s Dragon shortly after the end of World War II. In many ways, Elmer reflects the “can-do” spirit in America during the war and the post-war sense of optimism and confidence felt by many Americans. Elmer’s longing for an airplane so that he can fly anywhere he wants reveals Elmer’s thirst for adventure and his desire to explore the wider world.

In seizing the cat’s opportunity to rescue the dragon, Elmer shows his self-confidence. He takes on a huge, almost unimaginable goal, and follows his heart. Elmer bravely leaves behind his familiar life to rescue the dragon, revealing his belief in himself and positive worldview. Elmer rejects the easy path of staying safely at home and takes initiative, despite the cat’s caution that the task “wouldn’t be the least bit easy” (10).

As his last name suggests, Elmer reaches for the top. Big risks offer big rewards.