The Yearling Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Introduction Background Discussion Starters. The Yearling Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The Yearling: Introduction. Life is hard for the Baxter family. . The Yearling: Introduction. The family’s Florida farm endures . a five-hundred-pound prowling bear.
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Life is hard for the Baxter family.
The family’s Florida farm endures
a five-hundred-pound prowling bear
rowdy neighbors and stolen pigs
The woods and swamps are filled with
But, for twelve-year-old Jody, life is easy and carefree. His father, Penny, encourages his daydreaming.
He believes boys should be free to enjoy childhood.
But life can be lonely in the remote forest where Jody lives. The nearest neighbors are miles away.
Jody thinks a pet will make him happy.
One day a giant bear kills the family’s female hog.
And then all of the farm’s pigs disappear.
Jody and his father are searching for the missing pigs, when his father is bitten by a rattlesnake.
Penny saves himself by killing a deer and using its organs to draw out the poison.
When they realize the deer has left a fawn…
…Jody thinks it will be the perfect pet.
But can a wild animal survive for long in the human world?
Like her characters in The Yearling, writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lived an isolated life.
She felt she could succeed as a writer only by submerging herself in the lives of her characters.
Research for her novels took her on trips—even bear hunts—to the scrub country of inland Florida.
Rawlings lived with a family in the remote wilderness to experience life’s daily struggle.
Rawlings worked diligently to capture the unique language of the scrub country.
hit’s = it’s
allus = always
kin = can
Her characters speak with a distinct vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar.
The Yearling’s Baxter family lives on Baxter Island—a clearing of pines surrounded by a river and marshes.
It is an isolated existence.
The family lives hand-to-mouth.
Survival depends on hunting.
Learning to hunt successfully was a rite of passage for boys in the backwoods of 1800s America.
Joining a circle of hunters often signified the transition from boy to man.
In the course of a year, we watch Jody Baxter grow from a carefree boy to a responsible young man.
Like many boys in those days, he learns his family needs his help to survive life’s struggles.