Study Guide

The Yearling Man and the Natural World

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Man and the Natural World

When you live out in the middle of the scrub forest, things are going to get ugly. But then sometimes they're also going to be heart-stoppingly beautiful. The characters in The Yearling have a love-hate relationship with nature. It's beautiful, inviting, exciting, fun, and soothing—but it's also a constant threat to their lives, whether through storms or predators or even frolicking deer.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Jody and Penny only go fishing once. What does that trip show us about their relationship with nature?
  2. Penny was truly out for revenge when he went after Slewfoot the last time. But is there really such a thing as taking revenge on nature, when nature is an abstract force operating through instinct?
  3. What does Flag tell us about Jody's relationship with nature? How about Ory's?

Chew on This

Jody's changing view of Slewfoot represents his growing awareness of his family's struggle against nature.

Fodder-wing did not see nature as something to be feared, which is why he had to die. A healthy fear of nature is necessary to survive in the wilderness.

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