The Light in the Forest

by Conrad Richter
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What signs tell True Son that he has entered the white man's territory in The Light in the Forest?

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At the end of chapter four True Son parts ways with Half Arrow and Little Crane. He wades across a river, either the Allegheny or Ohio, and when he emerges on the other side he sees the two figures looking after him. This crossing of the river is symbolic of True Son leaving the world of the Delaware and entering the white world. As soon as he enters Fort Pitt he begins to see signs of white civilization, including "gloomy stone," "dark passageways" and "drunken soldiers." It is a far cry from the freedom and natural settings where he grew up in the forest with his Indian father Cuyloga.

Soon after leaving Fort Pitt, he sees where the forest has been cut down to make room for the "lodges of the white people and the fat storehouses of their riches." He no longer walks on the forest bed but on hard roadways lined with fences. To True Son it is an abhorrent place which he calls the "barbarous homeland of his white enemies." He could not believe that anyone would shut themselves up in "prisons of gray stone and red stone called brick." He also condemns the restrictive clothing of the whites who appear in "cloaks and greatcoats, their heads scarved and hatted." True Son's loathing of the white world becomes even more intense after he learns that he will be living in Paxton township, for he had heard stories of the atrocities committed by whites from this area against defenseless Indians. 

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