A White Heron: A Story of Conflicts between Flesh and Spirit

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Noah Fairburn
Class 7th
2/6/12
A White Heron Research Paper

“A White Heron” is a very simple and easy story to comprehend at first. At second glance a whole new complicated meaning is given to the story that relates to many of the political and social confrontation in the time period in which the story was written. In “A White Heron” Sarah Orne Jewett expands on peculiar relationships, influence of nature, and romance to describe conflicts between flesh and spirit. Nine-year-old Sylvia has come from the city to live in the Maine woods with her grandmother, Mrs. Tilley. As the story begins, Sylvia has been living with her grandmother for nearly a year, learning to adapt to country ways. She helps the old woman by taking over some of the more physical chores, such as finding Mistress Moolly, the cow, each evening in the fields where she grazes and bringing her home. By means of this and other tasks, along with her explorations in the forest, Sylvia has become a country girl who dearly loves her new home. She has taken to it easily and immerses herself in her new life completely, as evidenced by the description of her journey home each evening with the cow: “.but their feet were familiar with the path, and it was no matter whether their eyes could see it or not. Buy the time she leaves the city is seems like she has had enough with her parents and the city. Sarah bowman tells os that “the woman heart asleep in the child is thrilled by a dream” in this quote she tells us that Sylvia wants to be more independent and wants to leave the crowded city
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