Written in 1953, The Light in the Forest is a historical novel set in colonial Pennsylvania in the 1760s. True Son, the main character, was captured and adopted into a Native American family as a baby. However, as a result of a prisoner exchange, he returns to his white family after living with his adopted family for fifteen years. Much of the book depicts True Son's struggle with adjusting to his birth family and white culture. Additionally, the Native American perspective of white encroachment and settlement of Indian lands is one of the underlying themes of the book. As a language arts/social studies block teacher, I think The Light in the Forest is a good book for teaching two of the many types of conflict found in literature: man versus man and man versus self. In sum, this is a well-crafted book in which the internal conflict of the main character is not satisfactorily resolved.
The Light in the Forest | Disney Movies
In The Light in the Forest, Conrad Richter tells the story of a boy who is captured and adopted into an Indian family, where he is eventually accepted as a full-blooded member of the Lenape Indian tribe. However, due to a treaty that had been agreed to between the British and the Lenape tribe that states all whites previously held captive must be returned, he is eventually forced to reunite with his biological family. The central theme of the novel is the juxtaposition of the two cultures and their relations with one another.
SparkNotes: The Light in the Forest: Plot Overview
"Johnny Butler was just four years old when his Lenni Lenape "father," Cuyloga, spoke the words that siphoned out his white blood and put Indian blood in its place. Now the Yengwes, the white soldiers, were taking him back to his "true" home. Inside of him hate and anger spread like poisons. The Light in the Forest, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Conrad Richter, will touch a new generation with its lasting truths.
The Light in the Forest (1958) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb
The 1958 Walt Disney Production of The Light In the Forest is an adaptation of the same-titled Conrad Richter novel which tells the story of a white baby kidnapped by Indians in 1760s America. Fast forward 18 years and the youth (James MacArthur), due to a treaty between the Indians and the ruling British faces the choice of returning to his rightful people or remaining in the only life he's ever known. Resistant at first, the youth, with the help of an Indian scout (Disney staple Fess Parker), slowly begins to assimilate himself back into his birthright. His racist uncle (Wendell Corey) makes the transition more difficult as he's vowed to kill any and all "redskins" that cross his path.
Filmed in Tennessee and California, The Light In the Forest presents a departure from the standard Disney "safe" subject matter by tackling issues usually left to more "adult" film-makers. The film is also notable for providing the film debut of a young Carol Lynley as the youth's love interest. The Light in the "enlightened" me in various ways. It illustrates the spiritual relationship between Indians and nature as contrasted to the whites attitude. Indians live with nature, appreciating its beauty and enjoying its comfort while whites' seem to ignore the beauty and value nature only according to its productive usefulness. In The Light in the Forest, whites, for example, cut down the forest and clear land for farming.