The Thing in the Forest
Imagine an Iraqi girl, in the wake of 9/11, exposed to the tortures of war. Everywhere she looks she is surrounded by the awful sights, sounds and smells. She never knows at any moment, and with every turn of a corner what is going to happen. One morning she is awaken and stripped from her parents home by a person she does not even know. Scared and lonely, the girl is carted off to a house with several other children. None of them know what is going on or why they are in this place. Is it because they have missed behaved or is it because their parents just don’t love them anymore?
After they all have settled into this new place, they are separated yet again and put into new families. Never are these children explained to what is happening. In “The Thing in the Forest”, Primrose and Penny endured just that. The girls went through terrible events in their lives that never had any explanation. These events in turn caused the girls to endure conflict with themselves their entire lives. The girl’s first internal conflict was trying to understand why they were being put in their situation.
Both girls tried to rationalize it with themselves of why they were going through the events that were unfolding. These girls were scared and alone, knowing that the only people in their lives that were suppose to protect them, their parents, had let them go in this hard time. The girls, wondered “whether it was a sort of holiday or a sort of punishment, or a bit of both; Both had the idea that these were all perhaps not very good children, possibly being sent away for that reason”(225).
They poor girls not knowing until they were grown why they were stripped from their parents, had to bury their feelings of what was going on and move on. Both girls came to the conclusion that they were “able to define each other as nice” and they “would stick together” (225). The second internal conflict the girls had to endure was the feelings that they felt from “The thing”. I feel like “the thing” was symbolic of the war and the devastation that it was having on the society in which the girls lived. The girls were seeing so much at such a young age, and in reality they had no idea what was going on and why.
These girls were seeing death, symbolic by the little girl Alys being killed by “The thing”, all around them and at every turn. This war was going through their county and there way of life and ripping everything up in its path. The girls would remember “too solid flesh, too precise a stink, a rattle and a soughing that thrilled the nerves and the cartilage of their growing ears” in their memory everything was going on “as n such a dream, they felt, I cannot get out, this is a real thing and in a real place” (229).
The third internal conflict of the girls was how they would deal with life after the war. After being stripped from their parents house at such a young age and seeing all the horrible things they encountered, the girls never really knew how to live in everyday life without the war always hanging over their head. Both girls grew up in their respective homes they were put in and then returned to their city earlier then they should have.
They still had to encounter the terrors their parents tried to save them from: “bombardment, blitz, unearthly light and roaring, changed landscapes, holes in their world where the newly dead had been”(229). Both girls had surpress the memory of everything around them that they could barely even remember the face of their own fathers, which had died in the war. Both girls, never knew how to live life. Penny went to school and became a development psychologist, but still did not understand herself.
Primrose did odd and end jobs just to keep herself busy, but still did not know herself and her feelings. Both girls were numb to their environment and were perfectly content with living that way. Neither girl had ever faced the terror in which they lived through. Once both women got to the place where they were ready to go back to the place where they encountered “the thing” that lived in the forest, they were truly ready to go back and encounter the horrors they lived through in their own lives; that they had repressed for so long.
Both women, sitting in the woods waiting on “the thing” to rear its ugly head, came to a realization that neither one of them thought they ever would. Both women could hear the “the thing”, smell “ the thing” and sense “the thing”. The ugly thing called war. Both women left the forest that night with a sense of relief and both women went on and lived life. They learned if they faced things head on and dealt with their fears they could live the life that they had always dreamed of.