Study Guide

The Yearling Chapter 4

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Chapter 4

  • Penny decides to take Jody hunting for Old Slewfoot. Yee-haw!
  • They pack some food and supplies and head out, following his trail with their dogs.
  • Penny is famous for his hunting ability—he tries to outsmart wild game, instead of just chasing after it and hollering, like the Forresters do. Um, duh. Wouldn't that just scare the animals away?
  • As they walk along, Penny tells Jody not to act like the Forresters, who kill animals they don't intend to eat.
  • He doesn't even kill animals their family needs, if they're eating or mating, unless they're really in desperate straits. He's just cool like that.
  • The dogs catch up to Slewfoot, and Penny loads his gun…
  • …which, for some reason, won't shoot!
  • He keeps pulling the trigger, until finally it backfires, and burns Penny's face. Yeeeoww!
  • Meanwhile, the dogs are in a wild battle with the bear, so Penny runs into the fight and jabs Old Slewfoot in the ribs with his gun. Talk about brave! (And possibly stupid.)
  • Slewfoot runs off, and Penny picks up the dog Julia, who's been hurt badly.
  • They eat the food they brought, and then head home to tend Julia's wounds. Poor pup!
  • Penny wants to keep Julia inside for the night, but Ora refuses to let her in their bedroom.
  • So Penny shares a bed with Jody instead, keeping an eye on her in his room.
  • As they drift off, Penny explains that wild animals aren't bad, they're just trying to survive—like their family
  • Jody feels safe in their little clearing, with his Pa nearby. Nighty-night!

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