e-book Lesson Plan #2: The Light in the Forest
A feature film of the same name was adapted from the novel and produced by Walt Disney Productions. Smith , and Hazel "Gil" George composed the title song. The Light in the Forest is about the struggles of a white boy, John Butler, who was taken captive as a boy in Pennsylvania by the Lenni Lenape Indians and became assimilated.
The story opens in the autumn of John Butler, approximately fifteen years of age, has lived with the Lenni Lenape in Ohio since being taken captive eleven years earlier. His adoptive Lenape father, Cuyloga, renamed him True Son. He is assimilated and accepted as a full-blooded Lenape by that community. Along with other Native groups, the Lenape enter into a peace treaty with the British forces. The treaty required that the Indians had to return any white captives. True Son did not want to leave as he was fully assimilated and considered himself Lenape; he disdained white society.
He tries to commit suicide in order to be free of the whites, but is unsuccessful. Hardy accompanies the Butlers to their home in Paxton Township, near present-day Harrisburg. After returning to his father's home, True Son refuses to recognize his blood father, continues to wear his Indian clothes, and pretends that he no longer understands English.
His younger brother Gordie is intrigued by his Indian ways and True Son becomes fond of him. Later, True Son gets into a heated argument with his Uncle Wilse.
Wilse accuses the Indians of scalping children, which True Son denies. Wilse is so angered by what he perceives as the young man's lack of respect that he slaps True Son. That spring True Son develops an unidentified illness.
His physical sickness is compounded by disappointment that none of his Lenape family has tried to contact him since he was forced to go to the Butlers. He is enheartened by learning that two Indians were asking about him at Wilse's shop. Their reunion is tempered by learning that men from Wilse's shop shot and scalped their friend, Little Crane. The boys confront Wilse, knocking him to the ground and scalping him. They escape the town into the forest and head west to return to the Lenape. Their people are angry over the murder of Little Crane, and eventually, the tribe declares war on the whites.
They attack some small villages and scalp the settlers. True Son sees some children's scalps among the rest and is disturbed to learn that the Indians killed children as well as adults. True Son is used as bait to lure a band of settlers into an ambush, but he gives away the plan when he sees a child among them who reminds him of Gordie.
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The Lenape are enraged and plan to burn True Son at the stake in ritual torture. His adoptive father Cuyloga convinces the other band members to banish his son. Cuyloga tells True Son that he is no longer Indian, that he would be considered as a white enemy if ever seen again in Indian territory, and that he Cuyloga is no longer True Son's father. Cuyloga accompanies True Son to a white road, where they part. True Son John Cameron Butler is the story's protagonist. He was kidnapped by the Lenape from his family's home in Pennsylvania.
Adopted by a Lenape family, he became assimilated into their culture, undergoing years of traditional lessons of strength and patience, with fire and freezing water tactics, until he was fifteen. At that age, he was forced by a treaty between the Lenape and Great Britain to go back to his birth family. Cuyloga is True Son's adoptive Indian father and believed that the boy had become culturally Lenape.
His wife adopted the boy, who was then considered to be a member of her clan , as the Lenape had a matrilineal kinship system. Cuyloga is described as the wisest and the strongest father.
He is the one who took the boy as captive in the raid. Del Hardy is a young colonial soldier who is to ensure True Son returns to his birth family. He is also an interpreter who speaks Lenape. Like True Son, Del spent part of his youth living among the Lenape. While he is distrustful of Indians as a group, he is empathetic toward True Son. He allows his Lenape companions to accompany the youth on part of the journey to his white family.
Chapter 3 1. What is the May apple? Why does True Son wish to eat it?
Who accompanies True Son on the trail? What does he give him? Chapter 4 1. According to Half Crane, what are some of the differences between the white people and the Indians? Why does True Son attack the guard? What advice does Half Arrow give his cousin afterwards?
The Light in the Forest Puzzle Pack Worksheets, Activities, Games (PDF on CD)
What does the river True Son then crosses symbolize? Chapter 5 1. How does True Son act when he meets his birth father? What do you think father and son feel at that moment? Chapter 6 1. Chapter 7 1. Where does he sleep? Why do they argue? Chapter 8 1. What change does John make in his appearance and daily activities now that he is among the whites? Who is Bejance? Why is John so happy to meet him? About whom does he tell John?
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As a result, what does John decide to do? Does he succeed? Why or why not? Chapter 9 1.
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What effect did his abduction have on his mother? Why does John dislike Reverend Elder? Chapter 10 1. What is wrong with John? What methods does the doctor use to treat him? What does this young man tell Mr. Chapter 11 1. How do the whites treat messages or letters? How do the Indians? Why is John so concerned about letters and messages? What does John hope the result of his illness will be? Who visits John one night while he is sick? What does this visitor tell John? What do John and his visitor do? Chapter 12 1.
What decision does True Son make the morning after his escape from the whites? What is his only regret about this decision? Briefly describe the journey Half Arrow and True Son take.