Essay on the Yearling Books Publication

Essay by MegaCheata0527Junior High, 8th gradeA+, March 2006

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In the nearly fifty years since Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' novel The Yearling(1938) was published, it has joined the distinguished ranks of Robinson Crusoe (1719), Two Years Before the Mast (1840), and The Last of the Mohicans (1826)-all books not originally intended for children that nevertheless have become classic "boys' books." During her lifetime, Rawlings published nothing intended for children. The Secret River (1955), a picture book, was published posthumously, but it is a slight story of a child who saves her father and her forest community from "hard times" by catching a large number of catfish in a river that she can never find afterward. It is written in a very simple style with the somewhat condescending tone typical of many books of the mid twentieth century intended for young children, and is more notable for its illustrations by Leonard Weisgard than for its fanciful text. The Yearling, however, has retained a faithful audience of young, and older, readers not only because of its touching story of a lonely boy and his pet deer but also because of its strong characterization of the independent Florida "Crackers" and its vivid evocation of the wild beauty of the Florida scrub country.

Rawlings was not a native of the northern Florida country she loved and made famous. She was born in Washington, D.C., on 8 August 1896. In 1914 she moved to Madison, Wisconsin, with her recently widowed mother and her brother, so that she could enter the University of Wisconsin. In college Rawlings was an excellent and prominent student. She was chosen for Mortar Board, a women's honor society, and for Phi Beta Kappa; she was an active member of Red Domino, the campus dramatic group, writing and acting in a number of productions. After her graduation in 1918,