The Yearling Essay Summary

The Yearling


After the Civil War, many men moved to the scrubs. One of those men was Penny Baxter, who moved to a place in the scrubs called Baxter’s Island. He settled there and started a family. He had a wife who goes by Ma, and a son named Jody.

Jody’s maturity is shown throughout one year, through different events, in the novel In the early stages of the book Jody spends his time avoiding his chores and having fun instead.  “He [Penny] was doing Jody’s work, and in his good coat”(9). Although it seemed not always to be Jody’s fault that he did not do his work, some blame could be put on Penny.  “’ Men-folks has got to stick together in the name o’ peace’”(11).


Penny remembers what it’s like to be a kid, there is just one rule, to act like a kid.  Jody did eventually mature enough to do his chores around the house.  “’ Look at him [Jody] move,’ his mother said.  ‘To see him hoe, you’dthink he was a snail.  Say “hunting”’ ‘ and he’s as quick as an otter’”. (29)  Besides hunting, something else motivated Jody to be responsible; Flag.  The flag was a fawn that Jody found and raised by himself.

Jody was extremely proud of Flag, although the flag was a bit rambunctious toward the end of the book, ruining the only crops the Baxter’s had to eat. This was a serious matter because there was no more hunting to be done at this point, hunting season had ended and the crops and the little meat were support to get them through the winter.  Throughout the past year, Jody is Different events also guided Jody on the right path to becoming a man.  For instance, the death of Fodder-wing.

This was a horrible tragedy in this story, yet if it had not happened, Jody would not have had that motivation to take on more responsibility as he grew older.  “’I come to see Fodder-wing. I come to show him my lawn’… .’ Buck said, ’ He’s dead’” (202). “Jody wanted to run away” (203). Though Jody didn’t run away from home, in fact, he did just the opposite, he made himself more useful around the Baxter home.  He began to complete all of his chores and made sure all his work was finished every day before sundown.  He was also invited to start hunting with Penny and The Forester’s.

That was a turning point in Judy’s life when he became one of the hunting men.  Jody seemed to be ready to handle being a young adult, however, there was still just one opportunity to his maturity; he had to kill Flag.  The flag was tearing up all of the crops that the Baxter needed to survive during the winter months, and that was just simply not going to work when the Baxter’s are starving come winter.  “I [Ma] didn’t want to hurt the creature. I can’t shoot straight.

You know I cain’t ‘”…”You [Jody] got to put him out ten his torment.’” Jody did shoot Flag that day, It was the most unselfish action to do and it was the last task that a little boy would undertake.“Nothing mattered but getting away. There was no place to go. That didn’t matter either” (144). Different people have different ways of dealing with situations when Judy had to kill his beloved Flag, he chose to run away for a while and deal with the pain alone.  “The best way to get to Jacksonville and Boston is by boat”(411).

Jody planned to pole down the creek to Lake George and then take a steamer and go to Boston. Oliver said that he would pay his [Jody] fare if he could find him, otherwiseJody would be sleeping in the local Jail, but that didn’t seem to bother Jody, all he wanted was to get away and with that to get away as quickly as possible.  LaterJody stopped at Salt Springs, took a drink, and got something to eat with the fisherman. After eating, Jody started downstream with a sorry boat, a broken paddle and no one to help him.  He paddled for hours on end, often times his arm felt weak, at night he slept under the oak and began upstream again in the morning.


After a few days Jody came home.  “’ Hit’s me [Jody]’”. … “’ Boy-I[Penny] near about give you out’”. (p.424)  Penny was relieved at the sight of Jody and was upset to see that Jody had to learn it the hard way.  Jody didn’t receive any punishment, Pa felt Jody had been punished enough by his own actions. Everything was good at the Baxter home now; everything was good and safe. Jody became a man in the course of a year, in the novel called The Yearling. It was a long year for Baxter’s. They had to overcome many disagreements, triumphs, but most of all they gained the love and now life long insurance of Jody being around to take care of his Ma and Pa. Jody will forever be around to make sure that his family lives in the same comfort that they gave him throughout his life.



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