Environmental Themes in “A White Heron”
In Sarah Orne Jewett’s “A White Heron[comma]” Sylvia goes through a time of transition and experience to become her true self in finding what makes her happy, becoming a more mature female, and being truthful to herself. Sylvia is not the typical young girl; childhood is generally a time of discovery and experience. Jewett chooses to write about the maintenance of innocence through in her story, “A White Heron.” Sylvia, the protagonist, has an awakening that begins a deeper altitude????? of individual development when she resists both greed and admiration in order to protect the white heron from an attractive hunter. Because of this awakening, “A White Heron” serves as an excellent example of a female coming-of-age story. After overcoming many internal challenges, Sylvia begins to move from a childlike-fantasy world to a more mature worldview that allows her to reach a deeper understanding of her own morals. This moral development includes a realization that satisfying her own expectations is more important than fulfilling those of others. Due to the conflict between her and the hunter, she is also able to understand the complexities and precarious nature of life. Sylvia has preferred the county life to the city life, “it seemed as if she never had been alive at all befor she came to live at the farm” (Jewett 532). Sylvia is a nine-year-old girl who lives in the woods with her grandmother. Identified throughout the story as a child, the descriptions of both the setting of the actions that occur in the beginning of the story match those of how a child would view the world. For example, Sylvia’s playmate, the cow, is thought of as an intelligent creature, capable of responding to and creating playful actions. The childish worldview is also shown through the simple sentence structure and tone that is characteristic of a child’s voice. While dawdling along the wooded trail, Sylvia encounters a young, attractive...
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