The White Heron

Topics: Sarah Orne Jewett, Heron, Oak Pages: 4 (1166 words) Published: June 5, 2008
Neda Tavana
Professor Llimcolioc
20 April 2008
Nature that Brings Happiness

…When the great world for the first time puts out a hand to her, must she thrust it aside for a bird's sake?

Within the short story A White Heron, by Sarah Orne Jewett, she uses repetition and symbolic terms as she conveys a young girl’s coming of age while she encounters a decision between her grace and prosperity. Evidence of this binary begins in the opening of the short story when the author represents the young girl in the woods with her cow, which signifies her love for nature. The author also expresses the young girl’s behavior as childish in the beginning of the story, and responds to it at the end of the story to show the girls growth in maturity. Furthermore, Jewett uses terms such as white, which is repeated regularly throughout the story with a deeper meaning. Questions are withheld in the readers mind when the author introduces a handsome woodsman offering prosperity to the young girl and her family, which presents an opportunity for the girl to give up her grace or love for nature. In other words, he asks the young girl to point him towards a rare bird, the white heron, in return for the money her family is in need of. Although the girl is able to locate the bird which she finds the most sensational, she also contemplates whether she should give up the beautiful bird’s life to the woodsman. Her decision will also reflect her coming of age.

To further analyze this story, we must first understand the main characters grace consists of her compassion towards nature. The author communicates the story in third person prospective, in which the third person is knowledgeable of the characters thoughts and actions. The story opens with the third person representing the girl away from the city which she was born in, and into the woods of a country which she appreciates nature. “… it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm.” This is...
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