Where is Grandma Hutto going on the steamboat and why in The Yearling?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Grandma Hutto is going to Boston on the steamboat. Her house has burned down, and she says that she is too old to rebuild and go on living in isolation on the Florida frontier. She tells her son Oliver,

"I want to live in Boston...I want to go in the mornin'."

Grandma has lived in the house in the small town of Volusia for a long time. Her husband has long since died, and her only child, Oliver, is away at sea much of the time. Grandma is vivacious and outgoing; unlike Jody's mother, who is bitter and always complaining about something, Grandma is positive and welcoming, and Jody loves her dearly. Grandma's home exudes a fineness and culture that is completely alien to Jody, who lives in rough poverty; it is clear that she has had city influences somewhere in her past. Although the Baxter men try to visit her when they can, and Easy Ozell wants to marry her, Grandma is lonely much of the time, pining for her son Oliver.

When Grandma makes her precipitous decision to move to Boston, it dawns on Oliver that he "always ship(s) out of Boston." By moving to the big Northern city, Grandma arguably is calculating that she will be able to spend more time with her son and his new wife (Chapter 26).