The Light in the Forest

by: Conrad Richter

Del Hardy

A strong and capable frontiersman, the twenty-year-old Del Hardy provides a contrasting white viewpoint on True Son's story for the first few chapters of the novel. As one of the white soldiers who returns True Son and the other white prisoners to Paxton township, Del strongly believes in the superiority of white civilization and admires his military leader, Colonel Bouquet. As opposed to True Son, Del expresses joy at seeing the signs of white industry and stability; he refers to Indians as savages and cannot seem to totally "figure them out." However, Del is much more knowledgeable about Indian culture than the other soldiers since he grew up near Indians as a boy and knows their customs. At first he cannot believe that the Indians will return their captives to the whites; he knows that the whites are considered members of the Indians' families. Because he understands the Delaware language, Del is assigned as True Son's guard and translator. True Son speculates that the soldier's name is Del because he can speak Delaware. Del views True Son as ungrateful of and rude to his white family, but because he understands much of Indian culture, he is in some ways sympathetic toward True Son's feelings for his Indian ways. When Del finally leaves True Son's family to return to his troop, True Son misses him because he is the last person with which True Son can speak Lenni Lenape (Delaware).