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Copyright 2001

Created by Brian Thornton

Click here for more information Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Phone: 705 672-5737

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher
All Rights Reserved

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The Light in the Forest

Novel Study Guide

Conrad Richter


Answer all questions in sentence form.

Chapter One

  1. How had True Son learned to endure pain?
  2. What news had just reached the Indian villages?
  3. How does True Son react?
  4. What name did the whites use for the Lenni Lenape?
  5. Describe the man guarding True Son.

Vocabulary: vomit, sapling, alien, dismayed humiliating, stake, aversion, loathing, stern, strewn, overwhelmed, fringed, raveled, affronted

Enrichment: Locate early American literature which details the capture of young white children by Natives and their eventual return to their white families.  A good example of the captivity genre would be The Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.  Compare and contrast this literature with Conrad Richter's novel, The Light in the Forest.


Chapter Two

  1. What was Del Hardy convinced the Indians would never agree to do?
  2. According to Del, why had many of the men volunteered to go on a suicide march?
  3. Locate Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania, the Allegheny River, the Ohio River, and the Muskingum River in an atlas.
  4. How did the Indians behave when they gave up their adopted white family members?
  5. Who was the most rebellious of the Indian prisoners?
  6. Explain why the Indians were so ungrateful to the whites who had rescued them.

Vocabulary: stint, suicide, hostile, plumb, seasoned, bandy, kin, hostages, doughtier, spunkier, sassed, mock, trussed, calico, retorted, dignity, soothed, passion, varmint

Enrichment: Research the author, Conrad Richter, and make a short presentation to the class.  Another alternative is to assume the role of Conrad Richter and answer questions from the class.  Make sure you research some of his other books.

Design and illustrate a title page for your study guide or design a bookcover or bookslip for your novel.


Chapter Three

  1. Why were the men in the camp excited?
  2. Why does True Son want to eat the root of the May Apple?
  3. Who is True Son surprised to see moving abreast of him in the forest?
  4. What presents did True Son receive?

Vocabulary: bustle, ditties, slouching, forsaken, abandonment, disgrace, triumphed, mourning, haltered, meadow, sycamore, loot, chatter, withered, trace, wry, grimace, parched, embroidered, shod, concealed, wigwam

Enrichment: Research the Delaware (Lenape) Indians and find out as much about them as you can. Create a bulletin board display of your findings and make a short presentation to your classmates.


Chapter Four

  1. How does Half Arrow plan to find his way home if he must return without Little Crane?
  2. According to Little Crane why do the white people act so strangely?
  3. What important words of advice has True Son's father sent to him?
  4. Why does True Son not wave to his cousins across the water?

Vocabulary: gloomy, soberly, ambush, fickle, disposition, cumbersome, near-sighted, tread, keen, elders, heedless, kettles, tomahawk, flushed, lunge, grave, impassive, persimmon, defiant, ramrod, whimper, tribe, waded, farewell

Enrichment: Assume the role of True Son and make a journal entry for each chapter that you have read.  Share you entries with a classmate.


Chapter Five

  1. Describe some of the new things that True Son sees on his journey and explain why they are upsetting to him.
  2. How does True Son describe the whitemen's lodges or homes?
  3. What is the blocklike space in the centre of the town where no homes have been built?
  4. How does True Son react to his biological father when he meets him for the first time?

Vocabulary: constriction, swaggering, turncoat, slavish, exile, mounds, unscalable, stockades, desolate, stubble, exposed, rutted, stolid, receded, confinement, ostentation, wet-nurse, subjection, bombarded, sacrificial, restrained, ashen, stammer, scowl, pallid, presumptuous

Enrichment: Write a newspaper article describing the return of the whites to their biological families.  Remember to use a dramatic headline.


Chapter Six

  1. Why does Del Hardy toss his cap into the air?
  2. Describe how Del Hardy's reaction to the farmland and roads is different from that of True Son in the previous chapter.
  3. Describe True Son's escape attempt.
  4. Describe True Son's initial reaction to the stairs.
  5. What did the white man's clothes symbolize according to True Son?
  6. How did Gordie endear himself to his brother?

Vocabulary: mortared, rejoice, bosom, sullen, blackguards, squadron, scow, tethered, plunged, tenant, ordeal, recollect, shinned, aloofness, compassion, impassively, invalid, crude, pantaloons, mutual

Enrichment: Pretend that a publisher wishes to promote this book.  Design and illustrate a poster that you feel will arouse an interest in the story.  Display it in your classroom or school library.


Chapter Seven

  1. How did True Son feel as he lay in bed the first night in his parent's home?
  2. Explain what happened to True Son's Conestogo cousins.
  3. How did Aunt Kate convince True Son (John Cameron Butler) to dress in white man's clothes?
  4. How does True Son defend his Delaware language?
  5. What impression do we have of Uncle Wilse by the end of this chapter?

Vocabulary: flourished, stale, bolster, pestilence, hatchets, gaol, barbarians, wrath, scorn, abhorrence, blotting, frock, flinched, revulsion, thrice, parlor, slate, derision, heathen, hackles, pagan, distorted, latter, abductor, vermin

Enrichment: Design and illustrate a book mark for your novel.

Write an imaginary letter to True Son.  You may have questions for him or even words of comfort.

Pretend you are True Son.  Write a letter to Half Arrow describing your situation.


Chapter Eight

  1. Who were Peter Wormley and Andy Goff?
  2. How did Aunt Kate force True Son to wear his new clothes?
  3. What does Bejance mean when he tells Gordie that he and the other whites aren't really free?
  4. Who lived on the Third Mountain (Stony Mountain)?
  5. Where had True Son intended to go on his journey?

Vocabulary: tainted, induce, forbade, millstone, languish, garb, encumbrances, odious, bower, rheumatic, plaited, tyke, assented, pulpit, aroma, stowing, cooperage, reproached

Enrichment: Compare and contrast the plight of the Native Americans with that of the black Americans.

Using the internet and other sources of information, plan a one week modern bus tour through the region of the country described in this novel.  List the places that you would be sure to include in your tour of early American history.  Justify your choices and create a tour pamphlet outlining the highlights of the tour.


Chapter Nine

  1. Why was the parson paying a visit to the Butler home?
  2. Describe what had occurred eleven years earlier that caused Myra Butler to become an invalid.
  3. Who was Colonel Elder?
  4. What excuse does the colonel offer to John as reason for not stopping the massacre?
  5. Describe the conversation between the parson and John Butler.

Vocabulary: snaith, cradlers, parson, pastor, shrewd, galls, winced, lithe, formidable, dram, condone, precepts, pagan, sarcasm disintegrated, exemplary, disperse, asserted, congregation, pews, mutilated, deterred, provocative, fervent, veteran, tribulations, pliable, seraph

Enrichment: Have Myra Butler write a thank you note to the parson for his visit.

Pretend you are Myra Butler and compose a poem expressing thanks that you have been reunited with your long lost son.


Chapter Ten

  1. What kind of treatment did the doctor provide for the young boy?
  2. What was Dr. Childsley's diagnosis of True Son?
  3. Why did Aunt Kate return John's clothes to his bedroom?
  4. Who arrived at the Butler home and what news did he bring?
  5. What did Parson Elder's son mean when he stated that one of the Indians had one or two mugs of lum?
  6. How does Harry Butler relieve his stress?

Vocabulary: gallipot, diagnose, brusque, mode, ailments, hemorrhaged, aboriginal, lurking, precepts, antagonism, thrifty, filial, solitude, divine, console, crones, degrading, aggravate, confide, valid, solace, remuneration, accumulation

Enrichment: Choose one of the characters from the novel and write a detailed description of them.  Include both their positive and negative characteristics.

Invite someone who is knowledgeable about native culture into your classroom to make a short presentation.


Chapter Eleven

  1. What proof did True Son offer that the Indians had more respect for words than the whites?
  2. What was the black book that God had given the white people?
  3. Why did Gordie come to bed in excited one evening?
  4. How does True Son explain white rudeness to Half Arrow?
  5. Describe what happened to Little Crane.
  6. Why had the whites not laughed at the "happy" stories told by Little Crane?
  7. What was a cooper shop?
  8. Why does True Son wish to visit his uncle?
  9. What happens to Uncle Wilse?

Vocabulary: oration, remnants, venison, fragile, gnarled, insidious, submissive, reproved, tolerable, commotion, exertion, revived

Enrichment: Pretend that you are Conrad Richter's grandson/granddaughter and have just discovered a lost chapter from the book.  Present the chapter to your classmates.  Hint: You will have to write it first.


Chapter Twelve

  1. What happened to make True Son realize that he wasn't dead?
  2. Why was it impossible for True Son to return to the Butler home?
  3. What was the one small regret that True Son expressed to Half Arrow about leaving his white family?
  4. How does Half Arrow defend taking the trader's boat?

Vocabulary: infinite, aromatic, coarse, barbarous, pungency, droppings, berating, booty, summit, loafed, corrupted, plunder, pillage, gauntlet, sinister

Enrichment: Half Arrow was unable to take the larger "dugout" as it was tied with an iron rope.  The iron rope he was referring to was actually a chain.  Pretend you are an Indian that has arrived via a time machine into the modern world.  Describe modern objects such as cars, planes, rockets, computers, video games, televisions employing words that Half Arrow might have used.


Chapter Thirteen

  1. Why did Half Arrow believe it was no longer necessary to hide their boat during daylight?
  2. Describe how the two boys made their net.
  3. Give two reasons why the boys decided to leave for their home.

Vocabulary: ominous, covet, plague, enslaving, glade, benediction, lofty, clarity, boon, bounty, wards, lackeys, primitive, thwarts, meridian, foliage, exulted, restraint, million, discerned, embraced

Enrichment: With a group of your classmates, design a mural depicting the story and display it for your class.

Write a letter to Walt Disney Film Studios explaining why you would like them to do a remake of the film The Light in the Forest.

How do you think Conrad Richter chose the title for his novel?


Chapter Fourteen

  1. How did the village celebrate the return of the two boys?
  2. According to Indian custom, who would lead the war party?
  3. What is the first clue that the Indians have killed a child?
  4. How does True Son react to Thitpan's explanation as to how he acquired the young scalp?
  5. What causes True Son to warn the people on the boat?

Vocabulary: pervaded, lulled, hominy, carrion, valor, vengeance, fathom, recruiting, chorus, ferocity, riffle, quicksilver, recital, enticed, meritorious, decoy, allotted, remonstrating, imperial, disclosed, incredulity, stout, gross

Enrichment: Write a poem celebrating the return of True Son to his village and family.  Display the finished poems on a bulletin board.  Some students may prefer to compose a song and present it to the class.


Chapter Fifteen

  1. How did the council indicate that they were divided over what they should do concerning True Son's actions?
  2. Explain how Cuyloga defended his son.
  3. How did Cuyloga punish his son?
  4. What does Cuyloga say to True Son when they part ways?
  5. What appears to be True Son's main concern about returning to the white civilization when he is left alone at the end of the chapter?

Vocabulary: gravity, reprieve, clan, prescribed, execution, decreed, disquieted, idly, neglected, yearned, molest, bleakly, volition, desolate

Enrichment: Write a one page summary of the book describing why you liked it.

Describe how you would feel if you were suddenly told that you could never see or visit with your family again.

Conduct a debate as to whether or not violence should be used to resolve disagreements.


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Copyright 2001

Created by:
Brian Thornton, Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved