A White Heron Essay 3

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The journey of moving from childhood to adult hood and the experiences that affect a person’s level of innocence include many difficult eye-opening and often uncomfortable situations. In her story, “A White Heron,” by Sarah Jewett, a young nine-year-old girl leaves her large family in the city to live on a farm in the woods alone with her grandmother. Sylvia is very isolated on the farm, but has daily routines and responsibilities. She seems to be happy and content with her simple, quiet life and the natural world around her. Through her relationships with a cow, a hunter and a tree, things begin to change for Sylvia and her passage from innocence to experience begins.

Sylvia does not have any playmates living on the farm but does have her cow, Mistress Moolly, a “provoking creature in her behavior, but a valued companion for all that” which she seems to treat as her best friend. Sylvia tends to her daily and they have a familiar routine together - they wander and walk through the woods, playing hide-n-seek. The cow is stubborn and sometimes a challenge, yet Sylvia is patient and kinds to the cow and obviously cares very much for her and feels a strong sense of responsibility for her. Her grandmother has entrusted Sylvia with this job and Sylvia takes this seriously. The friendship between Sylvia and the cow shows that she might not have many things in her life but what she does have, she is able to be content. The cow is also valuable to the family because she gives milk, so not only does the cow need Sylvia to care for her, Sylvia and her grandmother need the cow – it is a very mutual kind of relationship. Life on the farm is good for Sylvia, “it seemed as if she never had been alive before she came to live at the farm”.

One evening while walking through the woods on her way home to her grandmother’s house, she hears “a clear whistle not very far away.” She knows it is not a bird’s whistle, but it sounds like that of a boy. Scared and a little...
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