In "The Way Through the Woods" why do you think the path was closed?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In 'The Way Through The Woods' by Rudyard Kipling the poet describes the secret world  of nature that now exists because an old road no longer exists, and the trees, grass and animals have reclaimed it. The mysterious quality of the poem is helped by the vivid descriptions of the wildlife, the silence and the fact that no explanation is given.

However, one clue lies in the lines about the animals which live there, whichare secret to everyone except one person - the keeper! Had you thought about the possibility that this person may have been a gamekeeper? These workers patrolled the estates of rich landowners after common land was taken away from peasant use by fencing in, and due to economic circumstances times were often hard and hungry for the poor. Many would turn to a quick rabbit for the pot, salmon for the grill or even worse, pheasant for the oven! These game foods had to be protected from thieves ('poachers') who would lift them in the dead of night, by gamekeepers. These workers would march around with a gun, hauling out any poachers they found. One way of closing off their access was to fence in the land and any public footpaths or roads that crossed it.

This may seem uncharitable to us today, but faith in God was being shaken at this time and scientists were finding out new things shaking the foundations of the church, which was seen by some to be 'shutting the road to enlightenment.' So there may also be a message about that concealed within the poem.

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