"The Light in the Forest" by Conrad Richter.

Essay by SolidusJunior High, 8th gradeA+, September 2003

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In the Novel The Light in the Forest, prejudice is the most important theme. The idea of judging someone before you meet them is mentioned repeatedly throughout the novel.

True Son, the protagonist of the story, is hateful towards the white race. Even though he was born a white boy, Indians captured him during the French and Indian War in the 1700s and raised him to despise the pale-skinned people. He was brought up thinking that Indians are good and whites are evil. Simlarly, the whites hated the Indians. They thought the Indians were rotten people that tortured and mutilated whites. Their uncivilized way of life was disgusting!

The prejudice in this novel is like that of most conflicts. During a war, it is natural to categorize your enemies as evil and praise your own kind. You're supposed to only see one side of the story to convince yourself to fight for your own cause.

White-bashing is everywhere in this book, especially in chapter four (p.17). Little Crane says, "The reason why they act so queer is because they're not an original people ... they are a mixed people, and that is what makes them so foolish and troublesome." Why do they loathe the white people? I suspect that it is because they are simply told to hate. Like Goethe once said, "We know accurately only when we know little; with knowledge, doubt increases."

True Son was sure of himself in the beginning of the novel because he only knew one side of the story - all whites are evil. But when he returns to his white family, he befriends Gordie and Parson Elder. Now there is a face on the white people; they're not all that bad! Like Bejance predicted, True Son was slowly becoming white-washed. He began...