Every individual’s world involves places where dark things might be waiting, places where hidden insecurities seem to fracture. Trying to bury the past is exceedingly common today, and the results only present more secrets.
Hiding the past and the events that occur only encourages an empty support system which affects the next step of moving forward. In society majority of people can recall a past event where there was an opportunity to look back and resolve the problems, but the option to never look back was an easier way out. Recovering from a dramatic past event is hard and by concealing the truth, it can risk everything of value. As time passes disturbing memories start to come back, so however deep the past and secrets are buried it will always come back. “In the Woods” by Tana French, like individuals today the main character spends years trying to bury the past only for it to come back and create haunting flashbacks. Burying the past can result in a lot of negative consequences, but among all of them losing significant relationships is the worst.
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In 1984 Rob, the main character experienced a traumatic event that shook him to the point where now 20 years later he has yet come clean to what really happened in the woods with his three friends, but only he came out alive. Every time he tries to enjoy a point in life he can only “Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s” (French 1). Rob’s memories of Knocknaree, Ireland depicts the town with a perfect warming toned filter, just like many childhood memories are. However, the word stolen foreshadows the crime and the memories being robbed from him. He had “started trying for the first time, really-to remember what had happened in the woods” (French 50). Looking back to a certain time of life can hit an incredibly soft spot in an individual’s heart and it did for Rob. Holding this situation to himself cornering all the thoughts in his head caused the loss of close friends and family because there was no way to speak what was on his mind without getting ambushed by curious people.
It is a common norm today to toss away challenging subjects in the past and just assume as if it will never affect how the present will turn out. Rob lied to so many people that he was too damaged, to be honest with himself or his peers. Being so messed up in the head, he is unable to feel comfortable with anything around him and with him. He is so distraught about how family members and friends view him that he lacks a positive self-image. While moments pass more secrets are kept in the dark, more relationships fall apart with time, and with distance.Not only did the attempt to run away from his past affect Rob’s interactions with intimate bonds, but it also had emotional impacts on his mental state.
Since he was a detective trying to run away from his old problems at times he was mentally challenged. When someone informed Rob about the new body that was found in the same woods all he could think about is that “I had been bracing myself quite hard for this, actually. I think I’d had some vague idea that seeing the evidence would trigger a dramatic flash of memories” (French 97).
In this situation, he had a memory of what happened in the woods with him and this knocks him completely off his feet. Remembering this moment wasn’t just a mental hit but also a physical one. This case was close to Rob, and at this point he was too involved to see anything clear. He was so uncontrollable with his emotions that sometimes it was impossible to control his violent impulses in certain situations. Holding so many lies in the human head can mess with the mind and create confusing manipulative thoughts.
Throughout the novel Robs mental and physical health slowly uncovers, and he is constantly at the border of an emotional breakdown. People in society today put so many heavy weights on their shoulders that thinking straight isn’t even an option. There wasn’t a hint of progression in Rob’s life and that was because of his chaotic mood swings in his mental state.
Burying the past is a common trait in today’s society and “In the Woods” by Tana French presented and ringed the relevance about it. Major relationships are lost in the time being. The support system and the mental state is tested when running away from the truth is the decision. The past plays a role in how the future turns out, and the way it’s played is an individual’s choice. There can’t be a step moving forward if all there is in the dark are secrets and more secrets. If not careful the past drifts and gathers, and it will bury anyone that doesn’t reveal the truth.