The Thing in the Forest has ratings and 8 reviews. Cecily said: The opening sentence demonstrates this is about being believed – or not“There were o. In A.S. Byatt’s “The Thing in the Forest” we are taken on such an adventure, but this is more than just a children’s fairytale. Through figurative. Dive deep into A. S. Byatt’s Little Black Book of Stories with extended analysis Its most disturbing fictions, “The Thing in the Forest” and “A Stone Woman,” were .

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The Thing in The Forest by A.S. Byatt by Elizabeth Eckenrode on Prezi

Preview — The Thing in the Forest by A. The Thing in the Forest by A. Leaves rustle underfoot in a dark wood: Later when they meet as grown women, they realise the experience has coloured their lives. A dark tale about the nature of stories themselves. Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was originally published in tbing collec Leaves rustle underfoot in a dark wood: Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was originally published in the collection Little Black Book of Stories.

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Be the first to ask a question about The Thing in the Forest. Lists with This Book. Apr 08, Cecily rated it it was amazing Shelves: Girl evacuees in WW2. Seeing the Thing changes everything – and nothing: Is it a determiner of their fates, almost an unstated curse? But ghe is magic. Here, it shifts subtly and powerfully to match the mood and chronology, which switch several times in barely 50 pages. The cautious overtures of friendship. The horror of what they see there. The irresistible pull of revisiting ting memories.

The social awkwardness of unexpected encounters, even in adulthood. See my review HERE for discussion of the shared themes, as well as reviews of the other four stories.

Mar 13, Ana and The Books rated it really liked it. Nov 07, Arielle Reads rated it it was amazing Shelves: My review is mostly formed from hyatt literary analysis paper I did for a college lit class.

Hopefully it is as conducive as I have attempted to make it as a review. Byatt, the author uses the byattt of a short story to craft a dark, mature fairy tale that invites a fierce insatiable curiosity from the audience.

The story introduces two girls who forge a bond with each other as they are both evacuees of the destructive Blitz. Free to explore and roam as they pl My review is mostly formed from a literary analysis paper I did for a college lit class. Free to explore and roam as they please, the two protagonists soon encounter the Thing, an odious, abhorrent being in the forest that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

The audience is able to experience a dual reality in which one character illustrates resiliency, and the other presents stagnation.


The story is ripe with imagery, symbols, and allusions. The first allusion is presented as the author compares the girls lack of knowledge of where they are going or how to return to the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel Following this is the introduction of a character named Teh. Alys is innocence and purity personified.

The forest itself is representative of war as an omnipotent, inexorable, and destructive force in the lives of those surrounding it.

War is often described in this way with the terminology of waves and perimeters. The fastidious imagery used in describing the Thing and the forest evokes a hallucinatory lucidity. Furthermore, the loss of Alys because of the monster is a parallel to the loss, or corruption of, innocence caused by war.

This line from the story emphasizes the role of the incident in the forest in shaping their foorest moving forward. These allusions, allegories, and symbols culminate in a truly meaningful piece that captures the devastating ramifications of war in an inimitable, enthralling fairy tale story. The depiction of the two main characters predisposes the audience to the pathways that each girl will eventually go down by providing an insight into the type of individuals they are.

Their appearances, lifestyles, and mentalities throughout the tale are all interconnected and contribute to the dissimilar conclusions they both face.

While Penny is dark and thin, Primrose is her counter, described as light and plump.

Physically, the girls are opposites of one another. This trend continues as they age; Penny gets thinner while Primrose gets fatter. The names themselves are also important antithetically.

The name Penny is rather cold and industrious, whereas the name Primrose is very warm and creative. As each character returns to the sight of the horror later in their lives, their individual experiences validate the naming of each character. Primrose is curious, imaginative, and maintains an openness that Penny lacks. Primrose romances herself as a heroic protagonist facing her fears leaving the forest liberated, while Penny perceives death ubiquitously and finds no adventure in the experience, leaving with a continued, consuming uncertainty.

Their individual responses to the forest after the initial incident also influenced their career choices. She was a child psychologist, concerned with facts and obsessing about the unknown.

Primrose was a child care providing story teller. Her creativity and imagination thrived in this setting as a story teller, allowing her to cope with the tragic event in the forest.

Conversely, Penny remained disconsolate since she possessed an unremitting pedantry, a predilection for empirical evidence with an antipathy for anything less, and a pertinacious resistance to acceptance otherwise.

They both experience the loss of their parents consecutively, following the same order father then motherremain unmarried without children, but also working with children in their respective fields.

The author is comparative to a scientist, drafting an experiment in which the variables that may be responsible for the different outcomes of each character are reduced.

The striking similarities in each of their lives serve a utilitarian purpose in this way. The outcomes for each girl are not dependent on different circumstances outside of the incident in the forest, thus their internal conflicts, each of their own design, are not the result of any individual circumstance that is not relative to the experience in the forest.

The experience in the forest, aside from contributing to the theme of war, is also a topic for discussion in its credibility as a real event.


In other words, did the girls sincerely see the creature or was it an effectual mirage, phantasmagoria, or some form of an apparition? Although the verisimilitude of the traumatic event is questionable, the relevance and presence of it as it relates to the story is undeniable. A willing suspension of disbelief may be necessary for the readers who do not believe the event in the forest as true. The historical context of the piece is essential to understanding the symbolism throughout the story.

This tale took place during the Blitz, a dangerous time period when British cities were under attack by German warplanes that were bombing them vigorously Byatt This is the very reason the two girls are evacuees and encounter the forest in the first place. War is central to the plot of the story.

The very entity that the girls are escaping from, encounters them, despite their attempt to flee, in the form of the Thing. This illustrates the ruthlessness of war. The forest setting is common throughout many fairy tales because it adds to the mysticism. Byatt was able to portray the devastation sought by war in a unique, multidimensional, and complex fairy tale through masterful use of the elements.

Foresh historical context of the Blitz was crucial to comprehending the symbolism of the forest and the Thing. Byatt created the two characters in a way that prognosticated and contributed to the deviating pathways that they each followed.

The story effectively unveiled a deeply powerful theme with the use of fantastical elements that succeeded in captivating the heart of the context.

Dec 03, Emma G. Manzi rated it really liked it. I read this short story for my AP English class. A very enticing, spooky tale, wonderfully descriptive and intriguing. I definitely appreciated the symbolism and metaphors, telling a tale of innocence lost through tragic events.

The Thing in the Forest Summary from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Sep 16, Yu-Hui Huang rated it it was amazing. This short story was collected in an anthology for college course use. I tried it to challenge my students and was really thrilled because many took the challenge. The setting is not familiar to the young people in Taipei; however, the sense of guilt portrayed in the story is so universal that we can merely treat it as a metaphor. I am glad my students, at least those ambitious ones, are willing to admit that “IT” exists.

Dec 03, Hannah Robinson rated it liked it. I really enjoyed this short story. It was very different and had what I felt was a lot of emotions under the surface.

The Thing in the Forest

I felt connected to the characters and liked the descriptions given through out, very detailed but in a good way. Apr 11, Ally rated it really liked it.

I liked this- but I’m not sure I understood it yet. Courtney Hartle rated it it was amazing Jun 30,