A White Heron - Essay

Topics: Sarah Orne Jewett, Decision making Pages: 3 (1196 words) Published: January 11, 2013
One’s view on something often changes when you look at it from more than one point of view. Morality plays a significant role in any decision making process. It is hard to justify any decision that is not moral. Sarah Orne Jewett’s “A White Heron” has many elements of nature, and of the preservation of what Sylvia holds dearly. The thought provoking short story evokes emotions of caring, loving, and fear. All of these emotions are shown by different settings and characters in the story. It is difficult to sacrifice something that is loved to acquire a personal gain. Sylvia is not willing to disrupt the beauty of the forest for a personal gain. She and her grandmother really do need the reward that is being offered to them by the hunter. Sylvia acknowledges this need, but is not willing to take the life of the pristine white heron for it. The heron is a key piece to the puzzle that is the forest. Without the heron there would be a critical imbalance in the forest. Sylvia realizes that what the hunter has to offer is overshadowed by her care of the forest. The life of a living animal becomes much more valuable when that animal has been seen up close. The hunter is willing to take the life of an innocent creature with very little thought. This is ironic due to the hunter’s occupation as an ornithologist. Sylvia does not understand how a man could kill the very thing he devotes his life to. Her confusion is shown here: “Sylvia would have liked him vastly better without his gun; she could not understand why he killed the very birds he seemed to like so much” (392). He does not have the same admiration for the forest as Sylvia does. Sylvia sees the heron as a graceful beauty that needs to be left alone. On the other hand, the hunter sees the heron as a specimen that needs to be killed for research. Sylvia did not come to the decision to spare the bird’s life right away. She had a revelation as she was sitting atop a tree in the forest. The narrator describes her...
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