Adopted by the Undergrowth by Rand Inskip

Adopted by the Undergrowth is a story about how animals should be held responsible for their actions like humans. Any being with a consciousness should have to uphold the laws that govern them like the Law of Oak for deer. If an animal kills another animal then he is responsible for the consequences of his actions. His community has the right to ban him and make him and his family suffer. The story is about guidelines that animals follow as if they were able to communicate with each other with the same level of intelligence as human. Their version of God is the Great Spirit of the Forest who sets the laws of the land for them to have a peaceful environment to live in. When one of their own dies, they see the light at the end of time and they experience a sort of purgatory where the worthy end up in a peaceful place but the bad creatures lose their soul.

If the purpose of the story was to educate humans on why they shouldn’t sin or break laws, then I think this story would teach valuable lessons to readers. However, holding animals responsible for their actions when they actually act on instinct because they haven’t been taught to control their emotions by their elders isn’t too fair. I think the idea in theory is interesting which makes the story entertaining. If we take the animals out of the equation and talk about people instead, you begin to realize that the children of parents who commit crimes are the innocent ones who suffer consequences for doing no wrong. An interesting point of discussion is determining what’s worse committing several small crimes or committing only one big one. If for the majority of our lives we do everything perfectly why do we punish someone when they act on their emotions only once? Nevertheless, Inskip has created an engrossing read about ethics and religion.

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