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The plot of The Fox and The Hound stars a human-raised red fox named Tod. After Tod causes the death of a hunter's prize hound, Chief, the hunter pursues Tod in a fit of vengeance.
This novel provides examples of the following tropes:
- Bear Trap
- Cunning Like a Fox: Tod engages in a back and forth battle of wits with the hunter, who constantly uses new traps and new hunting methods to try and catch Tod.
- After noticing Chief tailing him, Tod waits in front of a railroad track for a train to arrive, and dashes across at the last minute. Chief follows... and you can guess the rest.
- Determinator: The Hunter.
- Downer Ending: Tod is finally killed, and with most of his property gone and no more purpose in life, the hunter retires to a nursing home that does not allow dogs, so he's forced to shoot Copper.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: While Chief protects the hunter from a bear, Copper cowers in fear.
- Ghibli Hills: Subverted. The forest and The Master's land all get eaten up by urbanization.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Copper, an aging bloodhound-mix who'd fallen out of his master's favour, absolutely hates Chief, a younger dog who is challenging his role as head dog. He's overjoyed when Chief is killed prematurely.
- The Hero Dies: BOTH of them. See Downer Ending.
- Infant Immortality: Averted. A child ends up eating the poison the hunter leaves out for foxes and dies, and none of Tod's pups that he sticks around to raise make it to adulthood.
- Jerkass: Both title characters. There's Tod, who hangs around by the hunter's dogs and taunts them while they're chained. When one finally gets loose and chases him, he kills it. And Copper, whose jealously toward Chief makes him so hateful of the dog that he's happy when Chief is killed by Tod.
- Kick The Fox: The hunter kills at least two of Tod's mates and at least two litters of Tod's kits.
- No Name Given: The hunter, who is referred to as The Master by Copper and the hunter by Tod.
- The Noun and the Noun
- Old Dog: Copper
- Pet the Dog: A different hunter killed both Tod's mother and siblings, but kept and raised Tod as a pet.
- The Plague: Rabies.
- Recursive Adaptation: The Disney books inspired by the movie, which was inspired by the original novel.
- Shown Their Work: Mannix spent over a year studying foxes, which included watching them in the wild, interviewing hunters and even keeping a pair of red foxes in his home. It shows.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Spared by the Adaptation: Chief dies in the novel and the book of the film, but not the Disney film that inspired the book of the film of the book.
- Summon Bigger Fish: In this case, Tod uses a train to off Chief.
- Xenofiction: None of the animals can talk, and much of the book is spent characterizing them without dialogue.
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