Setting in Jean Hegland's "Into the Forest" Analytical Essay by scribbler

Setting in Jean Hegland's "Into the Forest"
An analysis of the role of setting in the novel, "Into the Forest", by Jean Hegland.
# 153269 | 1,431 words | 1 source | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on May 12, 2013 in Literature (American)

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The paper discusses how in the novel "Into the Forest", author Jean Hegland uses the protagonists' situation to criticize industrialization and consumerism, pointing out that natural, conservative ways of living are superior to humanity's wasteful way of life. The paper highlights the biggest element in Hegland's argument that is the role she assigns to the setting around the protagonists, Nell and Eva. The paper shows how their cabin in the forest clearing represents the girls' isolation from society, the state the cabin is in represents the total breaking down of their lives, and the forest to which they eventually turn is symbolic of provision and life. The paper concludes that "Into the Forest" is the story of embracing our environment and using nature in the way it was meant to be used; as a means of shelter, sustenance, life, and hope.

From the Paper:

"In this novel, sisters Eva and Nell are surrounded by a network of isolation when a war causes the nation's resources to dry up, power to shut down, and society to become chaotic. In their cabin in the forest clearing several miles from the nearest town, the sisters learn how to live without electricity, without parents, and without hope. They spend their time storing up food rations, repairing the house, and diverting their thoughts from their hopeless situation by concentrating on their individual hobbies. As the novel progresses, the girls become more and more dependent upon the forest for their source of sustenance and hope, when nothing and no one in the crumbling civilization can help them, and everyone is fending for themselves. Eventually the girls begin to live off the forest and what it provides, abandoning the cabin that is only a source for pain and a barrier to freedom and hope.
"Into the Forest takes Eva and Nell into isolation progressively, but it begins with where the house is located. The cabin is located in a clearing in the forest of northern California, three miles from the nearest house and thirty miles more from the nearest town. To add icing to the cake, there is even a bridge on the road between the cabin and the nearest house belonging to the Colemans, which Nell describes as "the boundary of my world," (Hegland 128)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Hegland, Jean. Into the Forest. New York: Bantam Books, 1996.

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