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Literature / Pax

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Sometimes the apple rolls very far from the tree.
In this book by Sara Pennypacker, Peter rescues abandoned fox kit Pax from the forest, and they've been inseparable ever since. When Peter's father enlists in the military, and Peter's town is evacuated for the war, he is forced to leave Pax behind. He is brought to his grandfather's house, and sets out on a three hundred mile journey back home to find Pax. It was published in 2016.

Pax contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parent: Peter's father is an emotionally abusive one. He drove away his beloved pet in a somewhat harsh manner and shows little care or concern for his son.
  • Action Girl:
    • Bristle is fairly competent at fighting coyotes.
    • Vola is a retired veteran.
  • A Boy and His X: Peter rescued Pax as a kit, and they grew close. The story revolves around them trying to find each other again.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The author intentionally leaves the era the story is set in (and the country) somewhat vague.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Runt gets his leg blown off by a mine. Vola lost a leg in the war.
  • A Pet into the Wild: Pax, domesticated most of his life, must learn to survive in the wild.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Bristle tries to keep her younger brother Runt safe from humans. Near the end of the book, Pax and Bristle lead a group of coyotes away from him.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Bristle is hostile to Pax at first, because he has human scent on him. She gradually accepts him over the course of the book.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Bristle orders Pax off her territory, though she's younger and smaller.
    • Runt jumps off a tree and cheerfully greets Pax.
  • Ironic Echo: "I'll help you on three conditions..." First said by Vola to Peter, when he needs her help. Later, he says it to her.
  • I Will Find You: Peter and Pax spend the book looking for each other.
  • Raised In Captivity: Pax the fox was tamed as a kit and left in a forest several years later. He almost starves, but Runt catches food for him.
  • Tough Love: Bristle cares for her brother but is somewhat frustrated by his weakness and doesn't hesitate to remind him of past mistakes.
  • Why Don't You Marry It?: After Peter meets Vola he finds that she keeps using the word "dyableman." (It's a Haitian-Creole word that means "damned.") He tells her that he if he were in second grade, he'd tell her that she loves the word so much, she should marry it.
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  • Xenofiction: Much of the story is told from the point of view of Pax the red fox.