Imagery is present throughout the novel to help bring character and scenes to life. For example, it is used to compare Calum to different animals, to give us a vivid impression of Peggy and to compare Duror to different predators – a tiger and a spider.

Duror’s psychological state

The most common image is that of the tree as representative of Duror’s disintegrating sanity.

Apposite as a biblical image, and one which connects to Duror, whose life is bound up with the woods, Jenkins uses it to chart the stages of Duror’s descent into madness.

The first reference is in Chapter One, where Duror watches the cone-gatherers from afar. He is aware of the overspreading tree of revulsion growing inside him and he has no control over it.

Later his burden of misery is compared to the crushing weight of the tree, and then he becomes the tree himself: he had felt his sap, poisoned, flowing out of him into the dark earth.

Here his hatred is flowing through his veins, acting as an alternative life force, sealing his fate.