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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Penny and Primrose are two girls who are evacuated with a group of children to a mansion in the English countryside during World War II. They are evacuated to escape the Nazi bombing of London i. Penny is tall, thin, pale, and possibly older than Primrose, who is plump with curly blond hair.

The girls arrive, along with a group of many other children, at the mansion—a big, eerie place surrounded by a forest. They are anxious and scared, thinking of themselves as orphans.

The Thing in the Forest

Some of the children cry themselves to sleep that first night. The next morning, after breakfast, Penny and Primrose decide to explore the forest. A younger child, Alyswants to go with them, but they tell her no, saying she is too little.

When the thing is gone, the frightened girls return to the mansion. The next day, they are sent to stay in separate places un the rest of the evacuation. After the evacuation, the girls return to their families, which the war has altered. The years pass, and Penny goes to university, studying developmental psychology. Primrose struggles in school, due to having to babysit her younger siblings. InPenny and Primrose, having had no contact during the forty years since byatf saw the thing in the forest, travel separately to the country mansion, which has been turned into a museum.


They run into each other while looking at an old book on display. The book tells the story of the Loathly Worm, a giant creature that, according to legend, had once terrorized the countryside around the mansion.

Delighting at their reunion, the women have tea and talk about their lives. Neither is married, and neither has children.

A.S. Byatt, “The Thing in the Forest” (Short Story) – Lessons from Silverfish

Finally, they discuss the day they met the loathly worm in the forest. They wonder what thimg to Alys, the child who had wanted to go with them into the forest, and agree that the worm must have kn her. Penny and Primrose agree to have dinner together the next evening, but neither of them shows up. On the following day, they set out separately for the forest surrounding the mansion. Primrose hikes for a while, then sits on a tree trunk, thinking of her mother, bgatt used to make stuffed animals to give to her.

Finally, she walks out of the forest. Penny is in a different part of the forest, trying to find the spot where she and Primrose had seen the loathly worm as children.

The Thing in the Forest by A.S. Byatt

She finds evidence of the worm: She thinks about her own dead father. After a while, when night falls, she leaves the forest. Finding the same spot, she waits and silently calls to the worm, which she then hears approaching.


Penny is ready for whatever happens. Primrose does not return to the forest, going instead to one of her storytelling sessions in a shopping mall. She smiles at her students and tells them about two little girls who saw, or believed they saw, a thing in a forest.

Sign In Sign Up. The Thing in the Forest. All Themes Trauma and Loss Reality vs. All Characters Penny Primrose. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play.

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Characters All Characters Penny Primrose. Retrieved December 30, Download this Chart PDF. They’re like having in-class notes for every discussion! Get the Teacher Edition. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a tne. Which guides should we add? How can we improve? LitCharts uses cookies to personalize our services.

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