The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

51HYE3CK95LI finished my first Pulitzer this year fairly late in the year. During these last few weeks before my school starts again for the fall, I hope to cram in as many as I can. I am glad that The Yearling was one of them. My post will not be as comprehensive as Drew’s post about this work.

Drew’s post really investigated this work very deeply and I wished that I interacted with this novel as he did. I really enjoyed this book for Rawlings ability to tell a story. Obviously as Drew stated Rawlings outlook on life as presented through these characters is very bleak and very modernist which I found refreshing in a weird. Rawlings speaks with absolutes that I find very enchanting but very foreign to the times we live in. Rawlings’ story is true it seems, and a whole story. Some of the novels in this collection it seems like you can see the editorial decision that went into the completion of their work. I am thinking here of Michael Chabon, but with Rawlings I think is very intentional about her novel and the arch that this novel takes. The ending seems rushed a little, but I do not think any editor told her to end it this way. It could have been that the editor told her that she can’t end it with just Flag’s death and needed to tag on the end the redemption story but the ending would have been hollow with out it. She had worked in redemption through the work at least in a conflicted way. The Forrester’s do not find that redemption but I think there are moments that lead to Jody’s redemption throughout.

Drew examines this novel in great detail and I think he does this novel a great justice in his review. I think this novel could struggle to connect to our age and I think he exposes that. Drew did some hard work to address what he brought into his review which I found endearing, and I don’t feel like overshadowing that with my review. I will say that I was blown away by Rawlings prose. I would like to read more by Rawlings because her ability to tell a story. Her eye for detail and use of dialect was incredible. Rawlings knows everything about this way of life and shows you these people in a very real way. It seems to me that she does not moralize these characters and doesn’t make them parody of themselves though with such simple characters the impulse is there.

Beyond thIs, Drew is correct in his appraisal at what is at the heart of Rawlings work. This novel reminds me of Stephen Crane and naturalism specifically which is not endearing to me at all. The beauty of Rawlings prose though I think redeems some of this work for me. I enjoyed reading this book up until the last few pages. I appreciated the ending for what it was, Drew I believe misunderstood the way the ending happened though. Jody shoots Flag initially but only wounds the deer. Jody goes in to protest not being able to finish the job and before Penny can convince Jody to do so, Ory goes out and does it for him.


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