However, the children of Hails grow up only to get their organs taken from them one by one until they die. While growing up at Hails, their biggest fear seems to be the woods that surround their home. The woods are a symbol that represent the outside world and therefore their fate after Hails, but more importantly how this knowledge they have about their future is always wandering in the back of their mind. Throughout the entire description of the woods, there’s imagery of things lurking over Hails.
The woods are always “looming in the distance” up on the hill ever Hails and the ghost of the girl who was never able to get back in is always “gazing over Hails” This idea of the woods being so scary, and the scary stories that have been created about them, is symbolic of how the fate of their futures also lingers over Hails and the children. It seems that the only thing the children can truly be sure of is that they will be fine as long as they stay in Hails. To them Hails represents security and safety, but outside, they don’t really know for sure.
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All they really know is that once they leave Hails, o matter how badly they’re pleading to be let back in, they will never be able to return. In the novel there is a part where the kids punish Marge K for embarrassing them by forcing her to look at the woods at night because apparently it was enough to ensure for her a sobbing night of terror. I could see a kid being scared in this situation but an entire night of sobbing terror seems like she was way more than just scared. What scares her is facing her future. Seeing those woods and realizing that one day she will be there and not at Hails anymore.
As the story progresses the guardians try to deny the rumors about the woods, but the older kids always insist they would be told the ghastly truth soon enough. Since the older kids begin to understand the truth about their futures they warn their younger, more naive, brothers and sisters at Hails. The fate of the children of Hails is tragic and inevitable one. When you’re young, your “little kid” instincts tend to take over and you find yourself channeling your fears into something that’s easier for you to understand. For the children of Hails this “easier” thing is the woods.