Study Guide

A Million Little Pieces The Woods

By James Frey

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The Woods

Walking through Woods on a Rehab-y Evening

The clinic is surrounded by a forest that seems almost magical enough to rival the Forbidden Forest around Hogwarts.

It actually is kind of forbidden. For one thing, James isn't supposed to take walks whenever he wants (he does it, anyway). On top of that, the woods around the clinic don't seem to obey any sort of laws of nature. When James first goes outside, for example, he observes, "[T]he land was shutting down and preparing for winter and dying. Now it's shut down and prepared and dead" (1.7.180). Only a day later, he says, "[T]he Land is showing life and everyone wants to soak it in and appreciate it and remember it. Life. Remember showing life" (2.1.208).

So, the woods are dead and dying when James is suicidal, and stirring with life when his brother and friends come to visit. We guess the grounds seem to mimic whatever James's mental state is at the time. And hey, since this is pretty fictional, maybe the woods weren't even there at all. Who knows—maybe the clinic is Hogwarts! Watch out for giant spiders and centaurs, James.

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