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Word Count: 670
Throughout this thought-provoking novel Matthee shows us how the environment where people are brought up plays a strong part in who they become She compares and contrasts the bright open expanse of the Long Kloof with the darkness of the Forest as well as the inhabitants of these areas The novel tells us the story of a boy who struggles to understand who he is and where he belongs This boy is Benjamin Komoetie Despite spending his younger years in the care of Fiela Komoetie a black woman interference by white people upturns his life and sends Benjamin into the Forest to live with woodcutters This transfer is confusing for a twelve-year-old and even the insistence of his new white family that he has returned home cannot quell his longing for the Kloof and his family there Matthee frequently uses nature to describe events in the story and also connects shades of dark and light to the places The people of the Forest are almost backwards in their ways they have little or no education and their homes are ramshackle huts However some of the Forest dwellers are aware of their insignificance to the village people and other outsiders During a conversation between Elias van Rooyen Benjamins new father and Malie one of Benjamins aunts Malie says Im almost forty Elias and Ive been outside this Forest only twice in my life and that was just as far as the village8230-I say again if we should all die from a plague this very day few would notice pg135-136 The Forest affects its community in many ways it is the life and death of the woodcutters and families Yet being from the Long Kloof Benjamin now called Lukas struggles to escape from a feeling of confinement The colossal trees that tower all around and block out the sun seem to imprison him further This reference is just after he reaches his new home
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