Study Guide

Fodder-wing Forrester in The Yearling

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Fodder-wing Forrester

Fodder-wing Forrester is Jody's BFF, and lives a few miles away in the same forest. He was born with a hunchback and a twisted body, but is still spunky enough to have earned his nickname when he attached a bunch of hay (fodder) to his arms and jumped off the barn, trying to fly. Sure, he broke a few bones, but hey, what's a little pain in the pursuit of science?

Understandably, grown-ups think he's a little nutty. It's not only because of the hay incident, but also because he tells wacky tales and really seems to think they're true. When Jody tells Fodder-wing that Spaniards used to use their trails, he jumps right in: "Next time you go west o' your sink-hole you know that big magnolia? […] There's allus a Spaniard on a black horse ridin' past" (7.76).

Once, we might believe. But always? That's a little hard to swallow. Still, Jody's life is so grim and joyless (except for all the nature business) that we understand why he might want to be friends with someone like Fodder-wing.

Dr. Doolittle Would Be Proud

There's one other draw for Jody: Fodder-wing is like your friend who always has the latest Playstation games, only instead of games he has animals. Fodder-wing is allowed to have as many pets as he wants—so he has practically a whole menagerie, including an eagle, some swamp rabbits, a fox-squirrel, and a 'coon. Plus, his zoo is constantly changing as he adopts new animals, breeds some, and lets others go. No wonder Jody loves coming over.

As the youngest of a large family, Fodder-wing is the darling, and everyone is heartbroken when he dies. His death helps teach Jody about coming to terms with loss, and, typical Jody, he does so through nature, thinking "Something of him had always been where the wild animals fed and played. Something of him would always be near them" (18.13).

To us, that sounds like a pretty mature approach to death.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...