The Light in the Forest

by Conrad Richter

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What is the significance of Corn Blade in The Light in the Forest?

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Corn Blade is significant because he knows the Delaware language, and True Son longs to be back among what he thinks of as his real people.

True Son is a white boy who was kidnapped and taken by Indians when he was young.  He has returned to live among his actual family, but he still thinks of the Indians as his family.

Corn Blade is an old man who knows the Lenni Lenape (Deleware) language.  True Son wants to talk to someone who can speak his own language.

No, there’s only one left around here who can talk Lenape, or Delaware as they call it around here.  (p. 63)

Corn Blade lives on Third Mountain, so True Son has to wait until the weather improves before he can go to visit him.  True Son steals a horse and some food and takes off.  He takes his younger brother Gordie with him.

Unfortunately, they are stopped by Butler and Wilse, who tells him that Corn Blade is dead.  True Son agrees to turn back.  No one understands why he wants to speak Delaware so badly.

He says it’s not a poor but a rich language.  There’s so many different ways of saying the same thing.  You can always say just what you mean. (p. 66)

Corn Blade is a last link between True Son and his new family.  He feels like the man will understand him, and he cannot wait to go see him.  When he finds out that Corn Blade is dead, it is like a part of him dies as well.  He can never go back.

Corn Blade represents freedom.  True Son feels much more comfortable in the woods than he does in his uncle's house.  He has been torn away from everything he knows and understands.

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