Mystery of the Forest

745 Words3 Pages
A.S. Byatt’s Gothic short story investigates the human psyche and its ability to cope with the emotions that come from loss. Byatt organizes her story into three different sections separated by the meetings of the two main characters, Penny and Primrose. The first is the break when the two young girls meet for the first time giving each other someone to hang on to. The second is when they meet again later in their years, at the same location they stayed so many years ago. These meetings are surrounded by severer loss with both the girls. Byatt looks into many different types of loss throughout her story. The very first appearance of loss is when the two little girls are ripped from their homes and everything they know as a result of the war going on in London. The two little girls in there frail emotional state hook onto the first thing that seams real and true, each other. Keeping hold of their newfound companionship the two girls grab beds next to one another and hold hope of being placed in the same home. The next day the two girls go to play in the yard with the other kids. They decide to go explore the forest beyond the gate of the property. While in the forest they “see” a grotesque worm like creature, which causes them to be in a state of silent shock. The young girls leave the forest and the mansion without one word to one another. This leads us to the next example of loss, they loss of one another and their only stability in this hard time. The two girls were first split by the traumatic “sighting” of the creature in the woods and then sent to different homes to wait out the war. Bringing us too our third form of loss, the loss that comes from a result of war. When the war was over the two girls where sent ... ... middle of paper ... ...e your eyes and imagine a vast green forest, the smell of deep rooted plants, and the light shining in through the rustling leaves. Imagine the sound of branches snapping below your soft footsteps as you walk the path less traveled. Imagine a place where anything can be possible. Byatt’s opening line helps you imagine all the magic a forest can hold. “There were once two little girls who saw, or believed they saw, a thing in a forest,” leads the reader to have an open mind of both fiction and non-fiction. She does not say the normal “Once Upon a time…” fairy tale opening, but at the same time her first line nether rule out or confesses that her story is not in fact a reality. I feel that by doing this it gives the reader the option to choose for themselves whether its real or make believe, making this story perfect for argumentative discussion on many levels.
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