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The yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The yearling (original 1938; edition 1938)

by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Edward Shenton

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2,535422,382 (4)164
Title:The yearling
Authors:Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Other authors:Edward Shenton
Info:New York, Scribner, 1938.
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:fiction, classic, hardcover, unread, GRTB

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The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)

  1. 00
    The Sundowners by Jon Cleary (BonnieJune54)
    BonnieJune54: Both novels have boys coming of age in a vividly described rural setting of another era. In both cases Mom, Dad and son are somewhat isolated from others. While life is harsh, joy , love and laughter are present.

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A child named Jody Baxter lives with his parents, Ora and Penny Baxter, in the animal-filled Florida backwoods. The author paints a remarkable picture of life in central Florida at the turn of the century. His parents had six other children prior to Jody, but they died in infancy. He loves the outdoors and loves his family. He has wanted a pet for as long as he can remember, yet his mom (Ora) says that they only have enough food to feed themselves.

A subplot involves the hunt for an old bear named Slewfoot, who randomly attacks the Baxter livestock. During a hunt for Slewfoot, Jody's father, Ezra (known as Penny) is bitten by a rattlesnake, and he shoots a deer in order to use its liver to draw out the poison. Though Penny recovers, the doe left behind a fawn. Jody adopts the fawn, whom he names Flag, and it becomes his constant companion. The story revolves around the life of Jody, as he grows to adolescence along with the fawn. The plot also centers on the conflicts of the young boy as he struggles with strained relationships, hunger, death and the capriciousness of nature through a catastrophic flood. Throughout, the Baxter family is in contrast to their uncouth neighbors, the Forresters, and the Baxters' more refined relatives in the village of Volusia. Jody experiences tender moments with his family, his fawn, and their neighbors and relatives. Along with his father, he comes face-to-face with the rough life of a farmer and hunter. He is thrown into the harsh truth of reality as a result of the snakebite and his father's brush with death. As he takes his final steps into maturity, Jody is forced to make a desperate choice between his friend, Flag, or family. The parents realize that the now adult Flag is endangering their very survival, as he persists in eating the corn crop which the family is relying on for their food the next winter.Jody runs away after his mother attempts to kill Flag by shooting him in the leg. Jody is then forced to shoot Flag himself. In anger at his mother, Jody runs away, only to come face to face with the true meaning of hunger, loneliness and fear. In the end, Jody returns home and assumes his role as the emerging caregiver to his family and their land.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Deer , Florida, Farm life, Parent and child, Boys, Wild animals as pets, Human-animal relationships, Young adult fiction
  3lilreds | Feb 26, 2016 |
The boy grew up and the yearling was dead. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 22, 2016 |
The Yearling was quite a surprise. I started out wondering how this became a Pulitzer Prize winner back in 1939, but it began to grow on me. It is a marvellous coming-of-age tale set in Florida. A time when bears and panthers roamed, and your nearest neighbours were 4 miles away. It was vivid and very absorbing. I admired Penny's appreciation for nature and wildlife and was continuously amazed at how life was led in those times. But I wondered if, were The Yearling to be published today, would it be a Pulitzer Prize winner? ( )
  olduvai | Jan 19, 2016 |
While straightening out my shelves, I came across a book I read when I was in about 7th grade. Thanks to Sister Stella Marie, who alone encouraged me to read books I enjoyed even if they verged on adult titles. The book I recently pulled from the shelf was The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The dust jacket is long gone, and it has several stains on the cover, but I immediately became overcome with memories and emotions from those days.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born August 8, 1896 in Washington, D.C. She lived in rural Florida and wrote of rural themes and settings. Her most beloved novel was The Yearling. She lived in numerous places around the country working as a journalist. By 1928, they settled in rural Florida after buying a 72-acre farm in Frontier Florida in the Ocala National Forest, southeast of Gainesville. The Rawlings Society quoted Marjorie, when she described the wilds of her new home. She wrote, "This was not the Gold coast of Florida. It was a primitive section off the beaten path, where men hunted and fished and worked small groves and farms for a meager living. And the country was beautiful, with its mysterious swamps, its palms, its great live oaks, dripping gray Spanish moss, its deer and bear and raccoons and panthers and reptiles." Marjorie died December 14, 1953 in St. Augustine, Florida.

Back in 7th grade, I never knew any of this, as I sat immersed in the delightful story of Jody, his father Penny, and Ma Baxter as they desperately tried to scratch out a meager existence. They competed for food and a safe place to raise offspring with raccoons, foxes, bears, deer, wolves, coyotes, rattle snakes, and the Florida panther, which was one of the first species added to the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1973. Today, there are less than 100 Florida panthers left in the wild.

I noticed two curious things about the book I so loved then – which may have been the first novel I read twice. First, is the dialect spoken by the settlers in the early 19th century. Although a bit strange at first, I quickly adapted to the local tongue; however, this time I had a dictionary of American Slang close to hand all the while I read. The second was the wonderfully astute cracker barrel philosophy of Penny.

Rawlings wrote, “Jody’s mother had accepted her youngest with something of detachment, as though she had given all she had of love and care and interest to those other [children she lost]. But Penny’s bowels yearned over his son. He gave him something more than his paternity. He found that the child stood wide-eyed and breathless before the miracle of bird and creature, of flower and tree, of wind and rain, and sun and moon, as he had always stood. And if, on a soft day in April, the boy had prowled away on his boy’s business, he could understand the thing that had drawn him. He understood, too, its briefness. // His wife’s bulk stirred and she made a sound in her sleep. He would act on any such occasion, he knew, as a bulwark for the boy against the mother’s sharpness. The whip-poor-will flew farther into the forest and took up his lament again, sweet with distance. The moonlight moved beyond the focus of the bedroom window. // ‘Leave him kick up his heels,’ he thought, ‘and run away. Leave him build his flutter-mills. The day’ll come, he’ll not even care to’” (20-21).

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling has withstood the hurricane of time for me. I found it as warm, sad, joyous, and heart-breaking as I did back in the late ‘50s. If you have never read it, or if you have, travel back in time and relive your own childhood innocence and wonder at the beauty of nature. 5 stars

--Jim, 7/30/15 ( )
  rmckeown | Aug 7, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wyeth, N.C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A column of smoke rose thin and straight from the cabin chimney. The smoke was blue where it left the red of the clay. It trailed into the blue of the April sky and was no longer blue but gray. The boy Jody watched it, speculating. The fire on the kitchen hearth was dying down. His mother was hanging up pots and pans after the noon dinner. The day was Friday. She would sweep the floor with a broom of ti-ti and after that, if he were lucky, she would scrub it with the corn shucks scrub. If she scrubbed the floor she would not miss him until he had reached the Glen. He stood a minute, balancing the hoe on his shoulder.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0020449313, Paperback)

Fighting off a pack of starving wolves, wrestling alligators in the swamp, romping with bear cubs, drawing off the venom of a giant rattlesnake bite with the heart of a fresh-killed deer--it's all in a day's work for the Baxter family of the Florida scrublands. But young Jody Baxter is not content with these electrifying escapades, or even with the cozy comfort of home with Pa and Ma. He wants a pet, a friend with whom he can share his quiet cogitations and his corn pone. Jody gets his pet, a frisky fawn he calls Flag, but that's not all. With Flag comes a year of life lessons, frolicking times, and achingly hard decisions. This powerful book is as compelling now as when it was written over 60 years ago. Read simply as a naturalist study of the Florida interior, it fascinates and entices. Add the heart-stopping adventure and heart-wrenching human elements, and this is a classic well worth its Pulitzer Prize. Earthy dialect and homespun wisdom season the story, giving it a unique and unforgettable flavor, and N.C. Wyeth's warm, soft illustrations capture an era of rough subsistence and sweet survival. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:52 -0400)

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A young boy living in the Florida backwoods is forced to decide the fate of a fawn he has lovingly raised as a pet.

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