Briefly summarrize what Parson Elder told Johnny in Light in the Forest.Chapters 9-11

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Parson Elder gently but firmly exhorts Johnny to adapt to the white man's ways.

Parson Elder begins his exchange with Johnny by suggesting he be obedient to his white family.  Aunt Kate has offered him some whiskey as a social gesture, and Johnny has refused, citing how his Indian father has told him that white men give Indians rum to get them drunk and take advantage of them.  The Parson acknowledges that this may be true in some cases, but that he has never seen it himself, and that in this situation, "it's just sociable".  When Johnny goes on to accuse the Parson of wanting him to adopt the Christian faith, the older man says that he does indeed hope that the boy will come to "believe certain things that are good for (his) soul".  Johnny then hotly points out that it is the so-called Christian white men who teach the Indians to swear, and, in his most telling blow, brings up the massacre of the Conestogo, which was perpetrated by Peshtank men led by the Parson himself.  The Parson is obviously troubled by this, and admits that his men had gotten out of hand, and offers the flimsy excuse that they would have killed his favorite horse if he had continued to insist that they disperse.  Johnny points out rightly that it would have been better for the Parson's horse to have been killed than Indian children.

In a "powerful and self-restrained" manner, Parson Elder then explains to Johnny that both white men and Indians have committed atrocities against each other, even though Johnny believes that Indians only fight honorable in battle, and never take the scalps of children.  The Parson continues to talk

"with strong earnestness...of the brotherhood of man and the duties of Christians, red and white, to each other...ask(ing) no questions...(and) mak(ing) no provocative statements...(but) brook(ing) no interruption".

He closes with a "fervent prayer", and then dismisses Johnny (Chapter 9).

Read the study guide:
The Light in the Forest

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