“Over The River and Through The Woods”
Task 3 – Critical Essay
Unlike many other short science fiction stories, Clifford D. Simak’s “Over the River and Through the Woods” keeps its readers wanting to know how it ends. This story is about two mysterious children, Paul and Ellen Forbes, who unexpectedly walk into their apparent grandmother’s house in the woods with objects that have never been seen before. Their grandma, who is also named Ellen Forbes, knows nothing of these children, who claim that their father sent them there for a short vacation. The mysterious mood, imagery, and foreshadowing all contribute to this being a good story.
It is commonly accepted that this story, like all other science fiction pieces, is not real, but unlike many others, it has an eerie, mysterious mood throughout, which makes it interesting and keeps readers reading. The grandmother tries to figure out where the children came from, because their relative “Charlie is the closest, and he’ll five miles away. And they said they walked just a little piece” (128). The children also talk about “plains that folks used to travel in” (128). Considering that the woman has no clue what they are, this story must take place in the somewhat distant past, and the children seem to have come from the future.
Clifford D. Simak uses a lot of imagery and foreshadowing in this story, especially when it comes to describing the zippers on Paul’s backpack and trousers. Although the word “zipper” is never mentioned in this story, the reader can instantly figure out what it is. Mrs. Forbes describes this mysterious object to her husband, Jackson Forbes; “This was this piece of metal and you pulled it and it ran along another metal strip and the bad came open. And you pulled it the other way and the bag was closed” (127). From the imagery provided by the writer, the reader can tell that Mrs. Forbes is talking about a zipper, which is foreshadowing that the children are from the future. In the end of the...