Study Guide

The Yearling Family

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings


Imagine you were stuck with your family in a little cabin, all by yourselves, with no TV, Internet, or phones. Now imagine you had to depend on them for your survival. Yeah—families are super important in The Yearling. In the rural 1870s, families had to be able to work well together to keep the household running. Think of the household like a small startup: you're all working long hours crammed into a small office, only there's no all-night pizza delivery and you can't choose your coworkers. In other words, you've all got to learn to get along.

Questions About Family

  1. What is the defining characteristic of each family in The Yearling? How does each family relate to the others?
  2. Did Jody really consider Flag to be part of their family? If so, what would that say about Jody's relationship to his family? To the natural world?
  3. How does the way Penny and Ory raised Jody affect who he is at the end of the book?

Chew on This

The "us against them" mentality of families struggling to survive creates unusual closeness in the families of The Yearling. If they lived in a city and didn't have to fight the forces of nature, they wouldn't be as close.

Family is so important to shaping personality that, if Fodder-wing had grown up in Jody's place in the Baxter household, he would have turned out like Jody.

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