Pennsylvania native Richter was well known as a serious writer of historical fiction set on the Pennsylvania and Ohio frontier one of his other novels won a Pulitzer Prize This is one of his minor works, and is certainly short enough to be a fairly quick read but nonetheless, it doesn t lack for emotional intensity or for complexity of thought content It has a lot in common with Schuman s much longer Strife Before Dawn, the book I reviewed previously the two novels share a setting, and their authors were contemporaries and in both books the return of a captive from the Indians is a pivotal point in the plot though True Son here is much assimilated to the Indian culture than Hope in the earlier book Several actual persons and events depicted in the first book appear here as well, and many of my comments in the first review would also apply here readers who liked either book might well like the other as well There is much less directly described violence in this book, however, and what there is isn t as graphic.Any fair minded reader will finish this book feeling that the white culture of that day has a great deal to answer for But like Schuman, Richter doesn t canonize all Indians as noble savages, either some of them are as racist, and as capable of atrocities, as their white adversaries And his primary intent is not to make a socio political point, but to explore the human drama and psychology of the situation which he does very well. The main reason I picked up this book is because I very much enjoy stories about Native American white relations in the colonial days, particular captive ones Come to think of it, though, I ve really only read one novel I thought did a decent job of portraying these circumstances This one did not.The main premise of this book is that a young man who was captured and adopted into a Native American tribe the Lenape, I believe has to be returned to his white family This was a pretty common occurrence Native Americans would take whites as replacements for the family members they lost, but often were forced to return them after many years had gone by and the captives had become family members and happy in their new environments If it was painful for the families, it must have been excruciating for the captives To live one life, then get used to another and accept that it was all there was going to be only to be returned to the first life against their will.that seems very difficult and fraught with painful emotions.While the author does a halfway decent job of showing the emotional turmoil of the main character, True Son, the problem isn t with True Son It s with everyone else The Native American characters are admirable but are very rigid in their beliefs and decisions No less rigid are the whites Everyone seems to have one opinion about everything and will not ever stray from it You can see where they would get these ideas but it makes it hard to sympathize with anyone With the Native Americans, they take the stance that it s okay to steal and kill the whites because the whites did it to them first Fair enough that the whites probably did it first, but does that make retaliation okay Maybe in their minds but not in mine, and I find it a personal turn off The white continually refer to the Native Americans and everything they do in condescending, racist ways Also not okay Even when their son returns, they don t try and understand him They just try to squash the Native American out of him I found basically everything out of every character s mouth to be grating on my nerves and vaguely offensive in one way or another Even with True Son, he was hard to understand at times, on an emotional level.My only other comment on the novel is that it sort of seemed like the author had done some petty research into Native American culture, such as names for things and some vague religious ideas, and stuck EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM into the novel in such a way that it felt very forced and stilted It wasn t a learning process, where the reader got to pick up some new phrases and ideas, but a recitation in an aren t I so clever way I found it obtrusive.All in all, there are much better books on this subject out there My favorite is Standing in the Light and I seriously recommend you check that one out before this one. This very short novel is read in junior high English classes, deservedly, because the novel is engaging, but also full of issues that kids understand alienation, moral dilemma choices, family issues The plot revolves a colonial boy kidnapped, then raised, by native Americans who, because of treaty obligations, must return to his real family, but who feels only tied to his native American family and culture Excellent book. I ve read a number of reviews which seem to feel having been assigned to read this book in eighth grade somehow makes it a poisoned pill of sorts I don t agree that if some book is required homework means the subject assigned must be crappy moralistic stuff grownups are yet again shoving down juvenile throats in a painful forced feeding When teachers teach anti bullying messages that we should all be kind to our classmates and stop bullying, do not most of us think, forced lesson or not, that bullying should be stopped Unjustified vilification is the first step towards bullying and this book, which is about the conflict of very different cultures, demonstrates that aspect of social ostracism and hatred of those different from our particular social milieu Whatever mechanism which lies in our crocodile primitive brains that leads to bullying is the very same brain trait which helped the whites justify their theft of America from the Native Americans All cultures develop under environmental and historical circumstances Habitual behaviors in time feel rational even when the reasons for doing something have disappeared Such behaviors then look strange, or unnecessary to cultural outsiders who have no idea of the history behind a custom that looks loony to outsiders of the culture Worshipping on your knees before a wooden crosspiece with a statue of a bleeding crying man punctured with stab wounds and in obvious agony pinned to the wood can look like a culture that worships torture and death and blood, but if you were raised in a Christian culture, you know people are worshipping the man, not his tortured death Christians often celebrate by eating bread and drinking wine in church with the underlying understanding that you are simulating the eating of dead human flesh and drinking blood An outsider might believe Christians are all happy admirers of cannibalism The plot of The Light in the Forest involved the return of a teen white boy to his white family after having been raised with an American Indian family since he was a toddler He could not understand anything his white family did, which indirectly highlighted the conflict between white European culture and Native American life in the early years of America Obviously, it was the cultural environment he had learned early in life which shaped his understanding, not his racial characteristics The book did a fantastic job of quickly outlining all of the issues between the original Native Americans and the white Europeans It showed how each side viewed positively their own culture and how they misunderstood the other people of a different culture Additionally, the book not only shows the shameful treatment of the original owners of America, which grew out of white greed for Indian property, but also that the conflict included the need for controlling the resources of the land for people to survive Natives and Europeans alike over time found it difficult to see the other as human, but originally it began as a tragedy of misunderstood manners, similar to when Westerners casually cross their legs showing the soles of their shoes when sitting with people from the Middle East, unaware that showing the sole of your shoe to many Middle Eastern persons is a deadly insult as horrible as spitting in someone s face in the West Without a common language or an understanding of cultural norms hatred can begin because of assumed insults Also, with such misunderstandings, the other person can appear dangerously irrational or mental The specific issues of the novel was about the complex knots of misunderstood cultures and greed, and how all of us sometimes make the mistake to think cultural differences are because of skin color or physical appearance and not because of one s upbringing The book wants to show the reader culture is not about race in fact, but about education and environment Obviously, gentle reader, there is a bigger discussion available to a class of eighth graders reading this book that goes beyond the issue of a kidnapped white boy raised by Indians However, disappointingly, many of the reviews sound as if some readers believe the book was either without modern applications what does the conflict between Indians and whites in 19th century America have to do with anything now a common thought Or readers think it is simply a stupid John Wayne fiction story The way Europeans justified the extermination of Native Americans was no different than the justifications of extermination and demonization by Germans of the Jews in World War II, the attempt to exterminate those of other faiths in the Serbian War, the genocide of other tribes in the Rwandan War and Saddam s War against the Kurds Not only does this issue continue to plague all human thinking, it apparently is ongoing in a destructively minor fashion only in scope in our schools for juveniles Why NOT read this book in the eighth grade What kind of discussion is NOT occurring in your classroom Some of the reviews about this book have caused me despair Reading the book should bring out in thoughtful persons hundreds of questions about human behavior. Now go like an Indian, True Son Give me no shame.Conrad Richter The Light In The ForestSometimes there are books assigned to one in school that ARE worth reading Sometimes they even make it onto your favorite list Such is the case with The Light in the forest.This was a book I read for school back in the day that quickly became one of my favorite books of all time Folks if you have not heard of this and you get it as a reading assignment do not fret, it is one of the great ones.True Son is a young boy whose real name is Johnny Many years ago, when he was just a baby, he was abducted by the Native Americans and raised as an Indian Now as a young man, True son loves his Indian Family with all his heart He and his friend Half Arrow are proud of their heritage and love living off the land Although True Son s skin is white, nobody ever thinks of him as anything other then a member of their tribe.When a peace agreement with the White people is reached, part of that deal includes that the Indians give back to the Whites, all their White prisoners That includes True Son.True Son s real name is John He has no memory of his white family He fights with all his mite, not to go back to them But he cannot escape his fate.The Light in the Forrest is about a young boy, who through no fault of his own, is thrust into a situation where he has no identity He does not understand is White family as they do not understand him and his continued love for his Indian family.This book is raw, beautiful and deeply moving I am compelled to talk about how poignant a figure True son is It was a joy to read about him.Growing up, I had a passion for Native American History so being given this book as required reading was a good thing for me.I also wanted to run free like True Son and his tribe I love the world described e re..the world of the Indian so long ago Woods and fields and bubbling creeks are their home I was enthralled.I felt much empathy for True Son Even now, I read this book occasionally and it brings me back into the forests of green of True Son and his Tribe.END SPOILERS I think my favorite character may have been True Son s Native American dad The speech he gives True Son, at the end when they separate, has always stayed with me.For those wanting just a littler bit of True Son or are wondering what became of him, read the companion book, the lesser known, Country of Strangers. My goal is to read and re read some classics This is for young readers, but a great story of a child who was captured by Indians in araid on his Pennsylvania settlement He lives with the Indians untilhe is forced back to his home when he is sixteen It s not an easyadjustment The story is about a boy who is caught between two culturesand is not at home in either That proves true after he escapes back tothe Indians He had an interesting view of the white man They areyoung and heedless like children You can see it the way they heap up treasures like a child, although they know they must die and can t take such things with them It would be no use anyhow because the next world has plenty of everything a man wants Their house isn t big enough for all they gather, so they have to build another house they call the barn That s why you find so many thieves among the whites All white people must put what they call a lock on their doors It s made of iron and you must carry another piece of iron with you to open it. When John Cameron Butler Was A Child, He Was Captured In A Raid On The Pennsylvania Frontier And Adopted By The Great Warrrior Cuyloga Renamed True Son, He Came To Think Of Himself As Fully Indian But Eleven Years Later His Tribe, The Lenni Lenape, Has Signed A Treaty With The White Men And Agreed To Return Their Captives, Including Fifteen Year Old True Son Now He Must Go Back To The Family He Has Forgotten, Whose Language Is No Longer His, And Whose Ways Of Dress And Behavior Are As Strange To Him As The Ways Of The Forest Are To Them A Beautifully Written, Sensitively Told Story Of A White Boy Brought Up By Indians, The Light In The Forest Is A Beloved American Classic The Light in the Forest is a short book written in 1953 by Pulitzer Award winning author Conrad Richter The book tells the story of a 15 year old boy who grew up among the Lenni Lenape Indians True Son or Johnny was captured when he was only four years old and had been adopted by an Indian family to replace a child who had died The story begins with a recounting of the 1764 campaign by British Army officer Henry Bouquet to gather white captives from among the Indians and return them to their families This experience was very traumatic for many of the young captives as they had grown up among the Indians and saw them as their own family The return to their families was especially traumatic if they had been captured when really young.Richter does a great job of telling the story of how Johnny has trouble fitting back into his own family When I first read this story years ago when I was in High School, it did not have as much meaning to me as it did when I read it again today.I first read the book before I knew of the Northkill Massacre One of my ancestors, Jacob Hochstetler, was an early Amish immigrant and helped start the first Amish settlement in America at Northkill, Pennsylvania In September of 1757, the Hochstetler family was ambushed by the Lenni Lenape Indians The mother and two children were killed by the Indians and Jacob and two of his sons, Joseph and Christian, were carried off into captivity After several years Jacob was able to escape and return home, but his two sons lived with the Indians for many years One of the sons, Joseph, was brought back to his family by the Bouquet campaign, so this story now has special meaning to me Both of the sons had trouble fitting back into the daily life of the Amish, and Joseph would often go hunting with the Indians who remained in the area Christian eventually left the Amish and became a Dunkard Minister, and a large number of his descendants eventually joined the Restoration Movement Joseph married into another Amish family and many of his descendants moved to Indiana and Kansas My branches of the Hochstetler family come from the older children of Jacob who had already left home and married by the time of the massacre Copied from my blog at BORING My Book Review by Marco MenjivarGenre The Genre of The Light in the Forest is adventure because True Son a character in this book goes through some challenges throughout his life.Short Summary about this book True Son is supposed to be with the white people but Cuyloga, an Indian, found him and took his white blood and filled it with Indian blood, now he thinks he s Indian but he tries to figure out what he is throughout this book.The Compelling Literary Element is the Characters because they each have their own color and culture They also have a different role That s what makes this book exciting.Some parts I found interesting were 1 On page 109 True Son gave away the Indian s plan for an ambush for the whites This is interesting because True Son still has feelings for his white people.2 On page 116 True Son said Who is my father This was interesting because True Son wanted to know who was his father either Harry Butler the white father or Cuyloga the black father.3 On page 114 True Son was fighting some white people then he found a little boy who looked just like Gordie This was interesting because again True Son had feelings for his white family and relatives.Questions I have about the book 1 Will True Son go with his white family and relatives or will he go back with his Indian family and relatives 2 Where will True Son stay for his home 3 What will True Son do next 4 Will True Son go to another adventure with Half Arrow 5 Will the white people attack the Indian people and take True Son back with them I can relate this book to the Hunger Games because Katniss and True Son has to deal with a lot of violence in both books I can relate this to the world because kids are poor out there in the real world I can also relate this to kids who are homeless Well that s my book review and I recommend this to people who like Native Americans and are studying about them I recommend this because it s a historical fiction book and a lot of people like historical fiction books My opinion is that it s a good book I don t really like cultural books like this one so yeah that s my book review I hope you enjoyed it.
Conrad Michael Richter October 13, 1890 October 30, 1968 was an American novelist whose lyrical work is concerned largely with life on the American frontier in various periods His novel The Town 1950 , the last story of his trilogy The Awakening Land about the Ohio frontier, won the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1 His novel The Waters of Kronos won the 1961 National Book Award for Fictio
- 176 pages
- The Light in the Forest
- Conrad Richter
- 26 August 2018 Conrad Richter