The Light in the Forest Author:Conrad Richter In this novel Conrad Richter bases his theme on a little known and tragic aspect of early Colonial life. John Butler, the son of a well-to-do family, has been captured by Delaware Indians at the age of four, adopted by Cuyloga, one of the leaders of the tribe. In the Delaware language he is called Lenni Quis or True Son. After eleven years among... more » the Delaware people, he knows only their way of life and the freedom and delights of the boundless forests. He has come to hate the white way of life as only an Indian can. Suddenly True Son is forcibly returned to his original and parents by the Bouquet military expedition of 1765. True Son's position in his real home, his deep love for and loyalty to his Indian parents and his cousin, Half Arrow, his reasoned rejection of the white man's civilization, and his part in family conflicts that arise are all inevitable in the situation. The novel moves to its unforeseen climax but only after an idyl in which may be read the author's own love for the magnificent forests and clear flowing streams of the early American wilderness.
This then is the story which holds the reader from the first page. Underneath there is much more, a probing of sensitive Indian-white relationships which have their counter-part over the world today, but principally the developing study of a boy's mind. The novel is an allegory of youth, of youth's innate wildness and freedom and its final and inescapable submission to the restrictions of society and the civilized world. This really is the heart of it but the reader must make his own interpretation.« less