Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Yearling: Nature in Human Life

Today's discussion reminded me of a book that I read a little over a year ago. 
The Yearling was written in 1938 by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939. This fictional novel focuses on a young boy named Jody, who lives in Florida during the late 1800's. The title of the piece derives its name from the fawn that Jody adopts and attempts to domesticate. There are several subplots that involve Jody's adventures and hunts in both the forests and the city. He is eventually forced to make difficult decisions that reflect many of the concepts we have recently discussed in class. 

According to: 
Source: Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults, ©1999 Gale Cengage. 

The relationship of people and animals to one another and to the land is one of the basic themes of The Yearling. Issues of loyalty and betrayal, survival, death, and loneliness are raised repeatedly as the characters interact with nature. The central question is whether humanity must necessarily be in conflict with nature, or whether the beauty of nature can be reconciled with the cruelty of life. The Yearling shows that life is hard, that suffering and sacrifice are to be expected and accepted, and that the loss of innocence is an inevitable part of growing up.

This is a fairly long book, but I highly suggest reading it. Though on the surface it is about a boy and his pet deer, there are countless deeper meanings and "pesky philosophical questions" it raises. 

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