|The Yearling, illustration by Edward Shenton|
The Yearling is not an easy book to read. First off all the dialogue is written in vernacular. I can usually tell what is being said, but not always. I sometimes figure out what a word is by context. "The Forresters is bent on pizenin' em." Means, "The Forresters want to poison them." Pizen had me confused for several pages. But by and large the dialect and speech patterns have me enchanted. This is a cute exchange between Jody and Father about his pet deer getting into the potatoes, which are an important source of food for the people.
"Don't get yourself in a swivet, boy. We'll work this out, one way or t'other. Now the 'taters in near about the only thing he'll bother, do you keep him outen the house. They ought to be under kiver, anyway..."The Yearling is also a very difficult book to read because of all killing. Jody and his father mainly kill animals just for food but their neighbors kill animals for sport and because predators, like panthers and wolves, are all bad. It is so disgusting to think people used to think of predators as disposable animals. I've had to speed read through several sections, I was just so disgusted. And when I say "speed read" I really mean, skip words and paragraphs because I cannot actually read this book fast. No way.
Now here is a non sequitur. I am completely charmed by the artwork that accompanies the story. Edward Shenton was the original artist who created the block prints in the 1st edition. The Reader's Digest edition I am reading has added colorized versions. NC Wyeth is more famous for the artwork in subsequent editions. But I am completely delighted with these.
|Jody in The Yearling, illustration by Edward Shenton|
|Tied up bear cubs; illustrations from The Yearling by Edward Stenton|