Dr. Lisa Moody
English 101 Section 54
28 September 2014
Word Count: 967
A Girl In The Woods
In “A Girl In The Woods,” Terrance Hayes uses the struggle of a group of teenagers to help the reader focus on dangerous consequences of impulsive pranks. The speaker creates vulnerability and desperation by showing the girls reaction to the boys’ unexpected prank. The author makes in known to the reader that the action of rape by the young boys was a mistake that could elicit consequences because they should have known better than to act in the manner that they did. “ They should have known better than to fool around that way.” (Hayes 21). This means that this was a topic that should not be joked about, but they still took the subject lightly. This is a story of a group of traumatized youths in which a story is told to impact the reader and elaborate on the effect of a simple prank that breaches the realm of a heinous and unforgivable, mortifying event.
In a biographical article, the poet talked in an interview about how he majored in art, and in his work, we can see where he paints a mental image of vulnerability. This is explained because he was a jock, and he did not want anyone to know he was an artist. In the same interview, Hayes was asked if vulnerability was one of the main qualities used in his poems. Hayes responded, “I would definitely say so. And I would continue to connect that to silence because it is about the difficulties of articulating tenderness-between men, but between women too,” (qtd. in Koo #69). This relates to the poem because of the young girl’s vulnerability while riding in the car with the boys in the woods. By creating a situation of vulnerability, this gave an opportunity for the boys to make a mistake. From this mistake, consequences would be present, which displays the focus of the author’s idea of vulnerability in the story.
Another point made by the author is that many people believe that it is age that separates children from adults, but it could just as well be the decisions an individual makes. Once adults or teens decide to cross that line, they can return to being a child again. The author shows this belief when he says, “ those boys who were not boys, men who were not men,” (Hayes 36). The author says that because they had crossed an adult line about pranking to rape a young female friend. Through this event, they were shown the effect of their actions and how they could effect others. Even though nothing happened, this was an event that could never be taken away, the fear and trauma caused from children entering an adult’s world left them in a state of in-between a man and a boy.
At the beginning of the poem, the author provokes the idea that individuals should think about their actions before they make a move. This is described because the girl enters a car that would usually not be a vehicle that someone would chose not to be a passenger in the first place. The car itself appears dangerous from the descriptions that the author gives in the following lines: “that girl running her nails along the worn backseat/of a cadillac, beat-up and bleach blue/ with a busted muffler and fur-covered steering wheel,” (Hayes 3-5). As the story continues, it is clear that the boys were acting as if they were going to rape the girl. Although the girl thought that the boys were her friends, she was put in what could have been a risky situation if it would not have been a prank. It can be