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LIT 4930: Florida Lit and Culture

Class 18:The Yearling

    Read chapters 28 to finish

    DUE: Midterm Essay; Post 9 – group B, Response Group A

Class Objectives:

    Analyze the end of the novel

Notes and Discussion Questions:

    Chapter 27 is a very brief chapter. It begins with the departure of Grandma Hutto, and the realignment of peace for Jody: "Baxter's Island was at hand. A sense of safety, of well-being, came over Jody. Other people had catastrophe, but the clearing was beyond it. The cabin waited for him, and the smoke-house full of good meat, with old Slewfoot's carcass added to it, and Flag. Above all, Flag. He could scarcely contain himself until he reached the shed. He had a tale to tell him" (443).

    What is significant about this sense of home? What happens to disrupt this?

    Why does Penny react differently from Jody to the "hard-won peace" after the devastation of Hutto's home?

    With chapter 28, the story enters January. How does subsistence farming change at this time of year and why is that important for the plot?

    How is Jody like the lone wolf they discover in company with the dogs?

    Describe Flag's growth in February from the point of view of Penny, of Jody, of Ory.

    As Flag grows, what happens to Penny's physical state? What is significant about the time of year of his collapse?

    What is Jody's response when Penny does not recover (chapter 31)? How is this different from Ory's response? Why is this significant in the drama that unfolds with Flag?

    Evaluate: "Penny said, 'Jody, all's been done was possible. I'm sorry. I cain't never tell you, how sorry. But we cain't have our year's crop destroyed. We cain't all go hongry. Take the yearlin' out in the woods and tie him and shoot him" (479). Consider how the order is given, why and it's outcome.

    In his attempts to find an alternative to killing the deer, Jody tries out various scenarios. Why don't any of them work? He also comes to identify with the hungry animals, rather than the hungry humans. How does this affect his reaction to his parents after his mother shoots the deer? Why is it significant that hunger brings Jody home and how is this hunger different from earlier instances of hunger in the narrative?

    On page 503, the narrative circle is closed as Jody collapses in the April sun by the creek. How is he different from the first time we see him there?

    Consider the narrative as a circle based on the cycle of the year. What is the symbolic significance of telling the story this way? What might it suggest about the future for Jody?

    The novel ends with Jody’s memories of Flag and his realization that he would never love anything or anyone in the same way that he had loved Flag. Why does the novel end with Jody’s memory of “a boy’s voice” that is no longer his own (509)? What is significant about Jody’s recognition of two voices—his own and the memory of his voice as a boy?

    To what extent is this a story about a place, the Florida scrub? Evaluate the role that the environment plays in the story. Consider how the Florida scrub or Baxter's Island is portrayed and analyze using place theory (for kicks) what it means for the reader.

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