A White Heron Essay

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English 211
October 15, 2009
Throughout Jewett’s “A White Heron,” it is evident that Jewett created an alternative to a world dominated by men and their values and interests. A lonely Sylvia is introduced as a friendless girl living on her grandmother’s farm after moving there from the noisy town over a year prior. Daily, she explores nature about the farm until her grandmother Mrs. Tilley calls her back to the house. Already, it seems as though there are no men to be found anywhere near Mrs. Tilley’s farm. With no father or other male family members around, the idea of a man-less world between Mrs. Tilley and her grand daughter emerges. Sylvia seems to be one with nature, with no human playmates, but rather she is more than happy with animal companions throughout the farm and swampland. The little girl’s excitement came from trying to find the cow Mistress Mooley as she wandered amongst the farmland in her own version of hide and seek and walking alongside her. The rising action of the story comes when Sylvia is faced with a startling encounter of a man lost on her farm, coincidently, the only male appearing throughout the entire story. She refers to this man as the “enemy” and even before she saw him, the “little woods girl is horror-stricken to hear a clear whistle not very far away. Not a bird’s whistle, which would have a sort of friendliness, but a boy’s whistle, determined, and somewhat aggressive.”(Jewett, 417) This shows that even before she discovers what is actually making the whistle noise, she has a pre notion that the source of noise reminds her of a figure of masculinity and she is frightened. Sylvia is completely scared of the man because there have been no men near the farm and also from a past experience of a boy that used to chase and scare her in her previous town when she was younger. This supports the idea of alternative to a male dominated world because Sylvia was so unfamiliar with men that she considered the...
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