The Yearling

ISBN: 0689846231
ISBN 13: 9780689846236
By: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

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About this book

Young Jody adopts an orphaned fawn he calls Flag and makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming, Jody must finally part with his dear animal friend. There has been a film and even a musical based on this story.

Reader's Thoughts


Meh, This wasn't a terrible read, but it didn't have anything in it that made it stand out from other similar tales of children's coming of age stories with animals, such as "Old Yeller" or "Where the Red Fern Grows". The only real novelty is that the protagonist befriends a deer instead of one of the more standard domesticated animals. Unfortunately, there's very little that the modern reader can identify with. I really felt that the author got so caught up in the place and time where the novel took place, that they neglected to add in the universal truths that make good coming of age stories have verisimilitude and staying power. The "learning the lesson" portion of the tale was shallow and I didn't really feel for the character. Perhaps this is the fault of all the characters in the book being fairly poorly developed, some of them to the point of being vague caricatures.This book isn't completely worthless, mind you, but it doesn't really excel in any point.




Ain't it strange that so many children's classics make children cry? The story of young Jody Baxter and his fawn pal Flag depicts a harsh life in the Florida swamp. It is full of strange (to most children) life experiences, and retains its ability to make me tear up just thinking about it. As long as children cherish stories that ring with a larger, deeper, inner truth, this book prevail.

Richard Kramer

I've had a ratty old edition in my basement for decades. Finally I said, well, now's the time, and sat down to read it. I've always loved the MGM version with Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman. Rawlings' book is flintier, tougher, somehow even more moving. I had to shake the images of the actors out of my head and go with her conjurings of Penny, Ora, and Jody Baxter. I'm glad I did. Rawlings was a pet of Maxwell Perkins and their published correspondence makes a great companion piece to this. This book is for children but isn't at all, too. It is about arriving at the moment in life when for the first time you are forced to kill the thing that you think will be the only thing in your life just like it, the only thing you will ever love. And the sadness, always, is when you learn you were wrong.


What language. It was dense and thick and like poetry. The story, The Yearling, is of a young boy named Jody and his life in the hardscrabble backwoods of northern Florida in the late 1800's. Jody and his parents live a solitary life and one where frivolous things don't belong. Yet all Jody wants is something that belongs just to him; a pet. When his father is struck by a rattlesnake in the deep woods, a doe is shot and killed for her healing organs, leaving behind a tiny fawn. This fawn now becomes Jody's pet. Oh I loved this story. It was the recipient of the 1939 Pulitzer Prize and was written for children or young adults. I would be hard pressed to put this into the hands of a child today, though middle school patient kids who love long and carefully crafted deep stories might be candidates. The pacing is slower than most of today's novels and the author infuses so many details about hunting and farming that one would think she lived the same lifestyle herself (she did not!)The dialect was also thick and I found myself having to read some phrases over and over to 'figger' them out in my mind!! I loved the phrase, "don't go gittin' faintified on me!" The descriptions of the woods were full of words like loblolly pine, saw grass, red bay, sweet gum, and palmetto. I still don't know what a ti-ti or a blackjack pine looks like but they sure are fun to say. I looked up words like milch, sorties, feist, crony, brogans, boles, and cooter and they meant nothing like what they mean now! I remember - I was supposed to be speaking "southern"!Lots of homeschool kids read this book and there are lots of study guides on the internet, yet I also saw reviews by many teenagers who just didn't like this book because they were forced to read it. Once again it supports my thoughts (what I tried to tell so many parents at Barnes and Noble) just because your child CAN read at that level doesn't mean that they SHOULD. Having some life experience behind us gives us a frame of reference, more meaning. This book requires some patience to uncover the gem that it is.This book had me reading and enjoying it for a day or too after book group and I keep looking for a chance to say, "He's sure got a low eye for a high fence."


I wanted to try this book as a possible choice for a lit unit after reading an article about it in Harpers Magazine. Although it took me a couple of chapters to get into it and used to the writing style, I came to enjoy the descriptions of the geography the book is set in as well as the endearing tale of Jody. However, I don't think I would use this in the classroom as a whole class read, but would recommend it to certain students that would benefit from the story.

Pooja Wanpal

When I was seven or eight years old, my father would read this book to me at night. A couple of chapters - just the happy ones. We never progressed beyond the idyll of the first few chapters, perhaps because my father knew that reality was going to wake us up some day, and there was no need to hasten it by reading about death and duty. It was admittedly a translation in my mother-tongue, but the story held me spellbound.I was twelve when I first read this book in English. Prone to judging things in black and white, I was angry with this book for breaking my heart, for shattering the cocoon of Jody's blissful existence, the halcyon childhood of his that had made its home permanently in my mind. I read the book every few years few years, and since then, it has been a tradition of mine, to fall back on this book when I feel the need to go back to the days of sunshine and corn pones and babbling brooks.


I loved this book! It was so beautiful in story, writing and depth. This book was tender as well as hard. Tender because of the mercies of his father and his feelings for the creatures - especially Flag. Hard because they had to make difficult choices for their own survival.Without meaning to be, this book was one of the best parenting books I have read. I loved and craved the relationship between the father and son because of the understanding of the father and the longing to carry each others burdens. Penny has many admirable qualities - I loved his character. The idea that Jody thought his father might not want him to return when it was so clear to me that everything Penny did was for Jody gave me much food for thought. A parent's underderstanding and perception is usually different than a child's. I must say that my heart broke for Ory who worked tirelessly and let the hard life taint her family relationships, something so easy to do. She was a good person but she wasn't as happy as she could be. The title makes you think of the fawn, yet, I see now that it was talking about Jody. He changed that year. He learned some hard lessons and gained perspective. (The fact that he was 13 years old gives me hope for my young children who seem slow to learn lessons of hard work and selflessness). I finished the book several days ago but it remains regularly on my mind. There are so many ways to benefit from having read this book.

Rob Warner

A Civil War-era coming of age novel that's a spiritual cousin to Where the Red Fern Grows, but with a broader story and a deeper dive into life's challenges. Reading this book reminds you how deeply people understood the consequences of choice, as sloth translated brutally into starvation. Indeed, the need to work for one's supper every day, planning for both the moment and the future, contrasts starkly with our present-day welfare state that, for some, rewards indolence.One other thing that jumps out from this tale is that the family, though living without TV, smartphones, cars, running water, or any of the other niceties we demand as a baseline for happiness, are just as happy as we are. They find plenty of joys, despite their hardships, and in the process sober us and our propensity to storm about under-whipped lattes and 404s. The tasks they faced daily would cave many of us, yet they take them in stride and relish in their accomplishments.The protagonist, Jody, lets us into his thoughts and the conundrums he must un-puzzle as he becomes a man. The dialect, though distracting at times, helps form the context of the life he leads.


I read this book at around 10 years old and it was scarring. Maybe I would see some underlying beautiful philosophy now but at that point I was mostly just traumatized. Spoiler alert: A kid raises a baby deer who ends up being unruly so they kill it. I do not advise children to read this


Sebelum The Yearling, Rawlings kerap kali mendapat penolakan dari editornya, Max Perkins. Namun Perkins mengarahkan Rawlings untuk menulis sesuatu yang dia pahami dari lingkungannya. Sejak itulah Rawlings mulai menulis The Yearling yang sebelumnya pernah diajukan dengan nama The Flutter Mill dan Juniper Island. Meskipun penulisan novel ini sempat terhenti, namun pada tahun 1938, novel ini berhasil dipublikasikan dan terpilih menjadi Book-of-the-Month Club pada bulan April 1938. Novel yang pernah menjadi pemenang Pulitzer Prize tahun 1939 ini memiliki tempo yang lambat dan detail yang sangat kuat. The Yearling menggunakan latar tempat Florida tengah pada awal abad ke-20. Tokoh utama di dalam novel ini adalah Jody yang hidup bersama ayahnya Ezra “Penny” Baxter dan ibunya Ora “Ory” Baxter. “Minggu pertama September selalu kering kerontang seperti tulang belulang tua. Hanya rumput liat yang tumbuh. Panas membuat suasana tegang. Anjing-anjing jadi galak. Ular-ular merayap bebas karena periode terpanas sudah lewat dan masa ganti kulit serta kebutaan mereka telah usai” [hal 261]Mereka hidup di sebuah lahan yang telah di beli oleh Penny dari keluarga Forrester.Wilayah yang dikelilingi pohon pinus."wilayah kecil dengan tumbuhan subur; bahkan dipenuhi pohon hammock yang paling subur dibanding semuanya. Ada beberapa pohon ek di sana-sini; pohon salam merah dan magnolia; ceri liar dan pohon karet; hickory dan holly. Langkanya air merupakan satu-satunya masalah bagi lokasi itu."[hal 25] Hasil tani adalah sumber penghidupan mereka, sesekali Penny mengajak Jody berburu, mereka menukarkan hasil buruan dengan berbagai kebutuhan hidup mereka. Selain berburu, setiap hari Jody membantu ibunya untuk mengangkut air dari sebuah tempat air resapan yang telah disekat-sekat oleh Penny untuk kebutuhan keluarga dan ternak yang berjarak beberapa kilometer dari rumah mereka. Setelah itu, Jody memotong kayu dan memerah sapi. Penny dan Ory telah berkali-kali kehilangan anak sebelum mereka memiliki Jody, karena itu Jody menjadi sangat khusus untuk mereka, terutama untuk Penny. Penny yang semasa kecil dididik dengan cara yang keras, memperlakukan Jody dengan kelembutan dan pengertian yang semasa kecil tidak diperolehnya. Jody sangat mencintai alam, setiap kali dia dan ayahnya berburu, dia selalu menginginkan seekor binatang yang bisa dipeliharanya sejak kecil. Suatu hari, Jody bertemu dengan seekor rusa jantan yang masih sangat kecil, dengan persetujuan ayahnya, dia memelihara rusa jantan itu. Karena keluarga Baxter hanya memiliki sedikit persediaan makanan, setiap hari Jody menyisihkan jatah makanan dan susu yang dimilikinya untuk Flag, si anak rusa. Flag menjadi anggota keluarga Baxter yang baru, dia bahkan bermain dan tidur bersama anjing-anjing keluarga Baxter. Sampai suatu saat, Jody harus membuat keputusan yang sulit ketika ayahnya jatuh sakit.“Tidak ada hikmah. Manusia hanya perlu ingat untuk rendah hati karena tak ada apapun di bumi ini yang bisa dia anggap miliknya sendiri” [hal 280]Untuk saya, novel ini sangat membuai. Secara keseluruhan, Rawlings hanya bercerita mengenai kehidupan sederhana sebuah keluarga, sesekali saya dibuat menunggu dengan ditemani detail alam, namun tanpa terasa sebuah kejadian bermula, membangunkan saya dari buaian, kemudian membawa saya memasuki sebuah pertemuan, perkelahian, peristiwa-peristiwa menggelitik, kehilangan dan secara perlahan-perlahan kembali menenangkan, penulis seakan mau berkata “oke…ketegangan itu sampai disini dulu”. Ini adalah kisah sebuah keluarga yang membangun hidup mereka di sebuah tanah kering di Florida. Ini adalah kisah seorang anak yang memiliki hubungan yang luar biasa dengan ayahnya. Ini adalah kisah seorang pria yang selalu berusaha melakukan pekerjaan sepuluh orang. Ini adalah kisah seorang anak yang senang bermain bersama rusa kesayangannya di tepi sebuah ceruk, tempat air serapan. Ini adalah kisah bagaimana kerasnya hidup dan tanggung jawab dapat membuat seseorang harus menghadapi dunia dan menjadi dewasa.“Nak, hidup akan mengkhinatimu. Kau sudah melihat apa yang terjadi di dunia manusia. Kau sudah tahu ada orang yang jahat dan nista. Kau sudah melihat Maut dan trik-triknya. Kau sudah mengenal Kelaparan. Semua orang ingin agar hidupnya indah dan mudah. Hidup memang indah, Nak, sangat indah, namun tidak mudah. Hidup akan menjatuhkan seseorang dan begitu orang itu bangkit, dia akan dijatuhkan lagi…..Lalu apa yang harus dia lakukan? Apa yang harus ia lakukan ketika jatuh? Tentu saja ia harus menerima hal itu dan melanjutkan hidup” [hal 498-499]


Sometimes you read a book and it is just words on a page, sometimes it becomes a story. And sometimes, when you're very lucky the book becomes so real you feel transported right into the pages. That was my experience here.I loved Jody and Penny's relationship, how overwhelming Penny's love is for his son, how much he wants for Jody to learn and grow. And how he watches Jody enjoying life.The Forresters were entertaining and heartbreaking at the same time. There is much to learn from the characters in this book if your heart is open.I treasured every moment I got to spend with Penny, Ora and Jody, seeing the world through their eyes.Very good book and now Andrew Peterson, a song writer, has a song about it. It is called "The Ballad of Jody Baxter". All young boys should read this book. It is on the same level as "Where the Red Fern Grows".

Michael Selden

It's been a long while since I last read The Yearling, maybe twenty or twenty-five years. My memory of its details was rather vague, although I knew the tone and some of the plot. It was refreshing to read again and to see the world of early Florida and the rich characters brought to life.Rawlings descriptive narrations of the world around the main character (Jody) are among the bestI've read. The detail and feel of the place took me back to the area—I did my undergraduate work at the Univ. of Florida, very close to where she lived when she wrote this book.The cast of characters were varied, from the boisterous Foresters to the more sedate and ruminative Penny Baxter (Jody's father). I'd classify this as a Middle Grade book—a young boy finding his place in the world—and you can see how his relationship with his father and the yearling form a kind of allegory about growing up. I won't say more about the plot since I would rather the author tell the story, but I will say that this book is worth reading.


This book was a delight for me to read. The descriptions of the Florida swamps and the storms reminded me so much of Texas. I loved the vernacular of the characters. There are still people in Texas who talk just like them, act just like them, and live just like them. It is a coming of age tale about a young boy named Jody. It was as true to life as coming of age gets. I don't think growing up always happens slowly over time, but in an instant. Death, illness, and hardship often cause people to have to grow up overnight. Jody had to. The writing was so well done and so descriptive that for a relatively simple story and plot the 400 pages went quickly. There were some things in the book that I just loved1. the young boy "Fodder-wing" -- he is a crippled boy born into a rough family where everyone is expected to hunt their keep. His family seems not to care about anything and anyone except him. They truly love him and mourn him when he dies -- the Mom says that the good Lord could have taken anyone of her "rough" men and she might not have even been sad, but to take li'l ole Fodder-wing was hard for her to bear. 2. The relationship between Ory and Penny. Ory -- an ugly, chubby woman who no other man wanted and Penny, and skinny, homely man who are eeking out a living together -- hoping for a family and ultimately burying 5 or 6 children -- all of them except Jody. They both love eachother and loathe eachother.3. Buck -- I think there are just people like him. It was fun to read about him -- not content to stay still and farm -- he wanted to be on the go making his way, the hard way -- but always honest and hardworking4. Lem -- a man who no matter what was bound to be bitter about something. I just thought these characters and their relationships was so true to real life.


It took me awhile to get (or should I say "git") used to the backwoods language used in the book. It was interesting to read about that way of life. I prepared myself for tears and I wasn't disappointed.

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