by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Yearling Introduction
In A Nutshell
You think you've got problems? Imagine living in the middle of a huge forest, miles away from your nearest neighbor, with nothing to depend on for food but your own measly little crops, a few farm animals, and whatever hunting you can do. Pretty rough, right? Okay, now add in a crazed, nine-toed bear who keeps killing off your livestock. Swell. And oh yeah, toss in a violent hurricane that floods the forest and pretty much rids the place of all its wild game. Super. And worst of all, don't forget that terrible, vicious, evil baby deer, who nibbles the very last of your crops down to the ground. Wait—what? Bambi is trying to kill you, too? Yep. That's right.
So what does Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings have against Bambi? Was she the president of the "We Hate Deer" Club, when she wrote The Yearling in 1938?
Don't worry. Rawlings actually spends most of the book showing us how adorable the fawn (a.k.a. the yearling) is, making it into a metaphor for the maturation of the main character, Jody. And she did such stellar job that she won the Pulitzer Prize and saw her book made into movies, a TV series, and even a musical. That's when you know you've hit the literary jackpot. Harry Potter may have his puppet pals, but The Yearling's got the full-fledged Broadway treatment.
Somewhere in all that singing and dancing, some important issues are addressed, too: Poverty and racism, violence and revenge, and even big picture stuff like life and death, and growing up. Turns out Bambi is a pretty good friend of Rawlings's, after all.
Why Should I Care?
Ah, yes! Do come in, won't you? Please, please, take a seat!
Welcome to Chez Baxter! Let's see what's on the menu tonight, shall we?
Organic poke-greens, sautéed with free range, hormone- and antibiotic-free bacon
Hand-rolled, fried "sand-bugger" patties, made of locally-grown potatoes and non-genetically modified onions, and wild "cooter" (snapping turtle)
Artisan-crafted sour orange biscuits
Spiced, sustainably-grown sweet potato "pone" (cornbread cake)
Fresh, raw milk from a humanely-raised cow
Yes, indeed, we take our fine dining seriously here at Chalet Baxter—only the very best gourmet, organic, sustainable, humane food for us! Just check out our rave reviews:
"I'm eatin' it quick, […] but I'll remember it a long time." - Jody Baxter (1.68)
"Blest if I don't get hungry when I'm sober." -Doc Wilson (15.78)
"Hit jest look plain nasty to me, son." -Penny Baxter (15.254)
Well, er…all right, maybe they just take all that hard work for granted, you know? Maybe they don't understand the fine art of haute cuisine?
Or, maybe, this type of food was the norm back then. When you lived on a farm in the woods right after the Civil War, everything you ate was organic, sustainable, and locally grown—because you grew it. This was the original green lifestyle. Every bag of organic veggie chips you buy at Whole Foods today is our society's way of trying to get back to these roots. For us, organic food is an expensive luxury: for the Baxters it was a matter of survival.
Interesting thought—if everyone today suddenly had to grow all their own food, do you think "going green" would be as popular as it is now? And do books like The Yearling help us see why grocery stores and fluoride aren't necessarily the corrupt, big-ag slash big-pharm evil they're sometimes made out to be?