What do the stories from Cuyloga teach True Son?

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cuyloga imparts his wisdom on True Son three times in the novel. In chapter four, Half Arrow relays the words of Cuyloga to True Son as the boy is on his way to the white settlement. He advises True Son to handle his captivity with "patience and cheerfulness" so that he does not awaken the suspicions of the whites. He tells True Son to wait for the right moment to attempt escape. Cuyloga says, "It is better to wait for your cause to be ripe like a persimmon on the snow before you fight back." 

True Son remembers the second story of his father when it is revealed that he will be living in Paxton Township. He recalls the "Peshtank story" about the atrocities committed by the whites against a group of Conestoga Indians who came to live with the whites and adopted Christianity. The story highlights the brutality of the whites and fact they could not be trusted. Remembering it further increases True Son's bitterness over having to live in the Butler household. Later, however, some of his hatred seems to diminish as he grows to love his white brother Gordie. 

In the final chapter, Cuyloga sends True Son back to the whites after the boy warns the white settlers in the flat boat of the impending Indian attack. Cuyloga reminds the boy that he took him in and made him part of his family. He taught him how to speak with a "straight tongue" and the difference between right and wrong. Obviously Cuyloga taught True Son well. The boy shows an amazing ability to discern the wrongs committed by both the whites and the Indians. He sees no difference between the killing of children by the whites or the Indians. Unfortunately, Cuyloga has to end his relationship with his adopted son. He tells True Son that if they ever meet again he will either kill him or be killed.

Read the study guide:
The Light in the Forest

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