Study Guide

The Yearling Plot Analysis

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Plot Analysis

Exposition (Initial Situation)

The Hills Are Alive

Jody actually spins around among some trees (but not in Lederhosen or anything), and then we meet Penny and Ora, Slewfoot, Fodder-wing and the Forresters, and Grandma Hutto and Oliver. The exposition, our introduction to the characters and their world, finally ends with Penny and Jody's trip to get their pigs back from the Forresters.

Rising Action

Boy Meets Deer

Penny is bitten by a rattlesnake and kills a doe to try and save himself. (Talk about some mad Survivorman skills.) Jody adopts the fawn she leaves behind, and from that moment on…the clock starts ticking. The fawn is growing up, and so is Jody. Get out the tissues.


Boy Shoots Deer

You knew it was coming: Flag the fawn has wolfed down all the family's crops, so Ma Baxter shoots him, and only wounds him, meaning that Jody has to shoot him again to put him out of his misery. Up until this point, Jody was a child. Now he has to start dealing with the harsh realities of life. Stinks, doesn't it?

Falling Action

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away

Rather than deal, Jody runs away from home to become a sailor. But with no food, water, map, or even a decent sense of direction, apparently, he ends up alone in a boat, starving and delirious, and has to be rescued by some fishermen. He finally comes to his senses and heads back home.


Home Sweet Potato Home

Once home, Jody gets a great pep talk from Penny about how much life can suck, and how there's nothing you can do about it. Jody is totally psyched to be home, though, and plans on taking care of his parents now. Yay! Happy ending…sort of.

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