How is Jody's coming of age shown throughout the novel?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the first impressions the reader has of Jody is when he is building a flutter-wheel in the river rather than doing the work his father has asked him to do. He is grateful for the gentle way that his father allows him the freedom to explore and sometimes...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

One of the first impressions the reader has of Jody is when he is building a flutter-wheel in the river rather than doing the work his father has asked him to do. He is grateful for the gentle way that his father allows him the freedom to explore and sometimes play when he needs to be working. His life is also relatively stable at this point and his responsibilities few.

That quickly changes when they cannot kill Old Slewfoot and he starts to understand more of the conflict with the Forresters and the complexity of their world. Jody sees his once strong and seemingly inexhaustible father nearly killed by a rattlesnake bite that leaves him weak and unable to handle the load that he used to.

Jody quickly begins to shoulder more of the responsibility but his link to his playful childhood is Flag, the fawn he has taken under his wing. Soon the fact that Flag is ruining crops and causing trouble starts to mirror the conflict that Jody has to face between staying a boy and becoming a man in the hard world.

At the end of the story when Jody has to kill the wounded Flag, he faces the hardness of starvation as he tries to run away from his responsibilities. He returns to the farm unable to see things the way he did just a year before. His maturation and the death of the child in him are in some ways a mirror of the death of his beloved Flag.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team