Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Jody Baxter, a young Florida boy. A lover of animals, of play, and of the excitement of hunting, Jody is a child at the beginning of the story. Matured by the experiences of one year—his father’s illnesses, the death of Fodder-wing, and the killing of Flag—Jody is at the end of the novel ready to accept the responsibilities that come with growing up. One of the most appealing and believable boys in American fiction, Jody deserves comparison with Tom Aldrich, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Stephen Crane’s Whilomville boys.
Ezra “Penny” Baxter
Ezra “Penny” Baxter, his father, a friend and companion to his son, who idolizes him. Penny’s diminutive size only increases Jody’s admiration of his father’s ability to hunt and work hard for a plain living. Penny possesses scrupulous honesty and a simple philosophy of life that he attempts to pass on to his son. Both father and son are drawn to the beauty of the rich and varied natural world about them.
Ora “Ma” Baxter
Ora “Ma” Baxter, Jody’s mother, a bulky woman considerably larger than her husband. She loves Jody but is annoyed by his “wasting” time and is unwilling to forgive Flag for his depredations.
Fodder-wing Forrester, Jody’s crippled friend, a frail boy who loves and has a way with animals, especially those that, like himself, have been...
(The entire section is 513 words.)
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The main characters in The Yearling are a lonely twelve-year-old boy, Jody Baxter, and his pet deer, Flag. For a year the two are inseparable, sharing adventures and hardships as they grow. But when Flag begins to eat the family's crops and must be shot, Jody panics and runs away from home.
Penny Baxter is Jody's honest and compassionate father. Understanding his son's pain and bitterness, he urges Jody to face his sorrow and go on with life "like a man." Life has not been easy for Penny, either. At one point in the novel he is nearly killed by a rattlesnake bite, and as a result he must accept declining health and strength. His wife, Ora Baxter, is a sharp and bitter "no-nonsense" woman. Of her many children, only Jody has survived.
The Baxters' nearest neighbors are the Forresters, who are rough and boisterous. One of the sons, Lem, is broody and sulky, quick to pick a fight and hold a grudge. In contrast, another son, Buck, is strong and generous: When Penny is ill from the rattlesnake bite, Buck offers to work his fields. The youngest Forrester, Fodder-wing, is Jody's special friend. Although physically and mentally disabled, Fodderwing has a vivid imagination and a gentle, unique love of animals. When he dies, both the Forresters and Jody are heartbroken.
Grandma Hutto, with her laughing eyes and luxurious lifestyle, is another special friend to Jody and Penny. They treasure their visits to her cottage, where her...
(The entire section is 643 words.)