The Forest Archetype

The Forest Archetype manifests in two ways. It is either the place representing the unknown, where danger and evil can be found. Or it is a place full of wonder and magic, generally a place where the character goes to reconnect with nature and oneself.

Is Little Red Riding Hood journeying into her unconscious or is she simply taking a stroll through the forest to get to her grandmothers?
In Little Red Riding Hood's case the forest represents the unknown, a place full of danger and mystery where the innocent should avoid.

"Now the grandmother lived away in the woods, half an hour's walk from the village; and when Little Red Riding Hood had reached the wood, she met the wolf; but as she did not know what sort of bad animal he was, she did not feel frightened" (Grimm 1). The forest, as an archetype, is commonly considered a representation of the unconscious, a metaphor for entering the unknown. Since she is innocent and entered the forest (the unknown) she has no idea that the wolf is bad.

To Sylvia in "A White Heron", The Forest archetype is the opposite. It is a place of wonder and innocence, beyond the chaos of civilization.

"Everybody said that it was a good change for a little maid who had tried to grow for eight years in a crowded manufacturing town, but, as for Sylvia herself, it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm" (Jewett 2) The Forest in "A White Heron" is a place of freedom and wonder where Sylvia can go to escape the troubles of the city and while she does go to live on a farm, it is the forest where she really enjoys being.

Peyton Faquhar uses the forest as an escape and safe haven, a place where he can be free from his pursuers which are the union soldiers.

"All that day he traveled, laying his course by the rounding sun. The forest seemed interminable; nowhere did he discover a break in it, not even a woodman's road. He had not known that he had lived in so wild a region. There was something uncanny in the revolution" (Bierce 6). Peyton escapes the union soldiers trying to hang him for the safety of the forest. It again shows how the forest represents freedom and, in Peyton's case, where he can escape. At the same time the reader learns that Payton is still on the bridge thus the forest can also represent his unconscious.

Photo Sources

In order of appearance starting from the top

Nkabuto. Little Red Riding Hood. Drawing. Deviantart. Deviantart, 2014. Web. 28 Jan, 2015.

Blinck. A Girl and a Forest. Drawing. Deviantart. Deviantart, 2014. Web. 28 Jan, 2015.

Earle, Martin. Alone in the Forest. Drawing. martinearle. Web. 28 Jan, 2015.

Jessup, Alex. Forest Mood. Drawing. Deviantart. Deviantart, 2014. Web. 28 Jan, 2015.

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