Literary Analysis Of A White Heron

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Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story “A White Heron” follows a nine-year-old girl Sylvia who lives with her grandmother, Mrs. Tilly, and her cow in the countryside. One evening while Sylvia is walking the cow home, a hunter who is searching for a rare white heron to add to his bird collection approaches her. He accompanies Sylvia home hoping to spend the night. While staying the night with Sylvia and Mrs. Tilly, he shares his hope of catching the bird. Sylvia has previously seen the heron so she sneaks out at dawn to the tallest tree in the forest to get a good vantage point. Once she sees the bird she hurries home to tell the hunter what she saw. When she gets there, however, she can't speak and the hunter leaves disappointed. Sylvia’s loyalty …show more content…
Sylvia spent the first eight years of her life in a "crowded manufacturing town” (1). After moving to her grandmother’s farm, Sylvia finds it is “a beautiful place to live in, and she never should wish to go home” (1). It is apparent that Sylvia is happier outside in nature compared to the stuffy indoors, as “she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm” (1). When Sylvia initially meets the hunter, she perceives him as an "enemy" (1). The paragraphs close to their encounter have a quality that suggests that Sylvia is in danger. The distress in Sylvia reflects the usual attitude of the people from urban society of that time, which considered men violent. Mrs. Tilly, who can be associated with the simpler, usual disposition of country folks, does not hold this prejudice attitude. When she opens her home with "slumbering hospitality” (2), the reader is surprised. The paragraphs leading to her welcome had suggested that something bad was about to happen: "The enemy had discovered her, and called out in a very cheerful and persuasive tone, "Hallo little girl, how far is it to the road?" and trembling Sylvia answered almost inaudibly, ‘A good ways.’" (2). The choice of words by Jewitt tricks the reader into thinking, like Sylvia, he was

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