The Thing In The Forest By A. S. Byatt Summary

823 Words4 Pages
The Thing in the Forest by A.S. Byatt is a fairytale like story that takes place during World War II. It captivates its reader with a mysterious lack of detail, keeping the fairytale aspect up to the imagination. Through symbolism, metaphors, and juxtaposing character development, Byatt shows how war and trauma kills childhood innocence. This story is about two young girls, Penny and Primrose, who are sent away from home during World War II for safety. This was common practice during the war, to keep children away from the heat of the battle. While traveling away, the two girls meet and become fast friends, sharing chocolate and speculating as to why they had to leave home. They arrive at a temporary foster home, and decide to go explore the forest, where they witness a terrifying creature…show more content…
Byatt uses physical death and friendship to represent the death of the girls’ innocence. Alys was described as, “quite extraordinarily pretty,” (Byatt 227). The emphasis of her cute appearance and her curious personality is representative of childhood innocence as a whole. Penny and Primrose, “were too excited about meeting and liking each other,”(Byatt 227) to want Alys tagging along with them, so when the younger girl asked to accompany them, they ran off in an attempt to leave her behind. However, while the two girls managed to hide from the Thing they find, Alys presumably fell into its path and was destroyed. In this moment, the two girls embraced and cried, but once they exited the forest they never spoke again. Alys being so representative of innocence shows Byatt’s attempt at showing the physical death of innocence. As does the abrupt end of Penny’s and Primrose’s friendship. The speed in which their friendship blossomed was naïve and childlike, so when it ended after witnessing something, “more real than we are,” (Byatt 232), it is clear that Byatt intended to once more show how war and reality crushes childlike
Open Document