Study Guide

The Yearling Appearances

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings


Don't judge a book by its cover, it's what's inside that counts, yadda, yadda, yadda. We've heard it all before and it's all good advice and let's face it: we all consistently ignore it and then spend a lot of time beating ourselves up for being shallow. And then, just when you thought you'd learned your lesson, along comes The Yearling, where appearances actually do tell you something about the characters and you're totally justified in disliking someone because you don't like the cut of their jib. In other words, we're pretty sure Rawlings isn't going to be joining the fat acceptance movement anytime soon.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Who are the odd ones out, physically, in the Forrester and Baxter families? How does their "oddity" affect how they are treated by the others?
  2. What does it say about Jody that he thinks all girls but Ma and Grandma are ugly?
  3. Is Ma Baxter's size crucial to the novel? Why do you think Rawlings spends so much time emphasizing it?

Chew on This

Jody's appearance doesn't seem to correspond to any specific character traits, as most other characters' do. That's because Jody is the only character who is fully realized as a person.

The appearances of animals are just as telling as the appearances of people: ugly, mean-looking bears are actually mean, while cute and mischievous-looking deer are actually cute and mischievous.

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