Study Guide

The Yearling Flag the Fawn

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Flag the Fawn

Our cute little baby deer, covered in spots, is the perfect symbol of Jody himself, who also just so happens to be covered in spots! Well, freckles, anyway.

Jody finds him right at the moment the fawn has lost his mother—and right at the moment Jody first realizes how terrible life would be without his father: "without Penny, there was no earth. Without him there was nothing" (14.144). Meaningful? We think so.

As they both grow from fawn to yearling, they do just about everything together—play, work, and hunt. And notice how Jody is constantly asking his parents if they think Flag is cute. Maybe he's looking for affection and approval for himself, too, hmm?

The older they both get, the more often Penny refers to Jody as a yearling himself: "You're a pair o' yearlin's, … Hit grieves me" (30.34). But the more mischievous Flag grows, the more responsible Jody must become, to protect his family from his trouble-making. What starts as keeping an eye on him quickly turns into making sure all doors are closed and all food is secure. And finally, he has to build a pen big enough to hold him—something so ambitious that even his mom is surprised and proud.

The moment of truth, though, comes when Jody has to shoot Flag. At that point, they are both yearlings, coming into their own. And because Flag behaves more and more like a normal, adult deer, Jody has to behave like an adult, too…and shoot him.

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