Into the Woods: The Psychological Significance of Forests in Fairy Tales

Photo by author. Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, NZ

Throughout literature, a pervasive fear of the woods has found its way into the subconscious of several texts, both ancient and modern. Every Little Red Riding Hood has its wolf in the forest, every Hansel and Gretel its witch in the woods. Psychologists have interpreted such symbols “as an expression of unconscious processes in the mind” (Luthi 83), deconstructing a…