“Death in the Woods” ostensibly comes to a farm woman, Mrs. Grimes, who, although just in her beforehand forties, seems old and also probably demented. She has no an initial name in the story, and, indeed, very tiny is known about her in ~ all. The narrator, a man who remembers and also re-creates the story’s occasions from his childhood, make the efforts to placed together the few things the he actually does know. V this re-creation, that searches for definition and for completion. He needs the events to do sense.
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“The old mrs was nothing special,” the narrator remembers. “She was one of the nameless ones the hardly anyone knows, however she gained into my thoughts.” In she youth, the woman had been a bound girl, virtually a slave to a harsh German farmer and also his wife. Her job was to feed the stock and to chef for the couple. Her life with them was an extremely unhappy. “She to be a young thing then and also scared come death,” the narrator says. In addition to the demands of she work, she was periodically the victim the the farmer’s sexual advances. Someday he had actually chased her right into the barn and also torn away the prior of her dress prior to he was quit by the sound of his wife’s returning. In such a situation, the girl looked desperately for any means of escape. Thus, as soon as Jake Grimes, the wastrel boy of a fail sawmill owner, readily available to marry her, she accepted.
The woman’s new life, however, to be hardly an development over the former. Cleared up on a brand-new farm, she again came to be a servant, first to she husband and also later to she son. She quickly withdrew right into silence and routine, a deadly presence in i beg your pardon she to be abused by she family and also ignored by all others. “They left everything at house for her to manage and also she had actually no money,” the narrator says. “She knew no one. No one ever talked to she in town.”
The main episode the the old woman’s story occurs on a cold winter day. Together is she custom, she renders her solitary trek right into the town for the meager gives for which she can barter and also the scraps that liver and dog meat that the butcher sometimes offers her out of pity. Top top her method home, toward the finish of day, the snow begins to fall, and by the moment she get the woods, she is exhausted. Struggling follow me the forest path, she concerns a clearing and also stops over there to rest, despite the peril of the cold. Quickly she falls asleep and slides quietly towards death.
Accompanying the woman on she journey room a pack of dogs. Together the night come on and the moon rises, these pets undergo a change. “Such nights, cold and clear and also with a moon, do things to dogs,” the narrator says. “It might be that part old instinct, come down from the time once they to be wolves and also ranged the woods in package on winter nights, comes back into them.” The step takes ~ above a magical high quality as the dogs begin to run in a one in the moonlit snow. If the old woman awoke before her death, she would have seen the queer, wonderful sight, or therefore the narrator imagines. She shortly dies, however, and also then all rules, every expectations and unspoken agreements between human and beast conclude. The dogs nudge, climate tear at the backpack comprise the meat. They traction her body into the center of the clearing, and, in law so, rip far the optimal of her dress so that she is exposed come the night. Not one of the pets touches she body, however, and she is left undisturbed in the snow.
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once the body is discovered several days later by a rabbit hunter, the is mystified and also frightened. In town he speak everyone the he has seen a “beautiful young girl” dead in the snow. A group of men led through the city marshal hurry to the site, and with them go the narrator, then a young boy, and also his brother. Together they follow the men into the woods. It is again night once they reach the clearing. Standing by the tree under i beg your pardon the woman died, the 2 boys check out the body, currently magically revolutionized by the snow and the moon. “She did not look old, lying there in that light, frozen and still,” the narrator remembers. “One that the guys turned she over in the snow and I witnessed everything. My human body trembled v some strange mystical feeling and so did mine brother’s. It can have been the cold.”
The city blacksmith respectfully consists the old woman’s body v his very own coat and carries her gently into town. The next day her body is identified, and also she is again quickly forgotten, except, the is, through the boy—now the guy telling the story. He has actually listened come his brother recount the occasions that they have actually witnessed, yet this telling has not seemed sufficient. Facts alone execute not adequately define the secret of the events. “The entirety thing, the story that the old woman’s death, was to me as I flourished older choose music heard from far off. The notes had to be picked up progressively one in ~ a time. Something had to it is in understood.”
Thus, he returns to the story again and also again, mystified, compelled come probe in ~ the essence of the woman’s life and death. “A point so complete has its own beauty,” that says, and also it is the beauty the haunts him.