“A Sense of Sorrow Filled Him”

I’m rereading Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings The Yearling, and I came across this passage about halfway through the book. For some reason, I found it quite powerful and thought I’d share it.

To set the scene, young Jody’s father, Penny, was just bitten by a rattlesnake and Jody doesn’t know if he’s going to make it. He falls asleep while the doctor watches Penny.

“Jody moved through a tortuous dream. With his father beside him, he fought a nest of rattlesnakes. They crawled across his feet, trailing their rattles, clacking lightly. The nest resolved itself into one snake, gigantic, moving toward him on a level with his face. It struck and he tried to scream but could not. He looked for his father. He lay under the rattler, with his eyes open to a dark sky. His body was swollen to the size of a bear. He was dead. Jody began to move backward away from the rattler, one agonized step at a time. His feet were glued to the ground. The snake suddenly vanished and he stood alone in a vast windy place, holding the fawn in his arms. Penny was gone. A sense of sorrow filled him so that he thought his heart would break.”

Penny recovers later in the chapter, but in one scene Rawlings has wonderfully reinforced Jody’s love for his father. At this point, we can’t stop reading. There’s a lot I can learn from this passage, and I thought you might find it as moving as I did.

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