Study Guide

The Yearling Coming of Age

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Coming of Age

Growing up is hard to do, especially when it means having to take over your family's corn-planting and wildlife-killing duties rather than just moving into a dorm room and getting a meal plan. In The Yearling, Jody has to learn to stop making flutter-mills and start digging wells, with a lot of unpleasant experiences along the way. Sure, it's sad that he had to be exposed to the harsh aspects of life in order to take that next step, but at least he gets the chance to grow up—at least one Baxter child does.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. Penny teaches Jody a lot about animals, hunting and fishing, and nature in general. Does any of that contribute towards Jody's journey towards adulthood? Would Jody's coming of age have been different without all of his early experiences in nature?
  2. If you had to choose only one of Jody's traumatic experiences, and only put him through that, but it had to make him take on his duty as an adult in the end, which would it be? Why?
  3. Would Jody ever have run away alone if his dad had been meaner from the start, and gotten him used to hard work and responsibilities at an early age? Should Penny have been harsher with him?

Chew on This

If Jody had not returned home, but had become a sailor like he intended to, he would never truly have been an adult.

Without the experience with Flag, Jody wouldn't have been ready to step in when Penny needed him to.

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