One’s view on something often changes when you look at it from more than one point of view. Morality plays a significant role in any decision making process. It is hard to justify any decision that is not moral. Sarah Orne Jewett’s “A White Heron” has many elements of nature, and of the preservation of what Sylvia holds dearly. The thought provoking short story evokes emotions of caring, loving, and fear. All of these emotions are shown by different settings and characters in the story.
It is difficult to sacrifice something that is loved to acquire a personal gain. Sylvia is not willing to disrupt the beauty of the forest for a personal gain. She and her grandmother really do need the reward that is being offered to them by the hunter.
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Sylvia’s love of the forest is a blessing for the innocent and defenseless heron. She would not be able to live with herself if she were to give up the heron’s whereabouts. All the weight of this important decision lies in her hands. It is up to her to figure out what to do without help. A personal gain sits right there for the taking, but at what cost? This is the question Sylvia has to ask herself. She must decide on saving the heron, or receiving a reward. Sylvia is infatuated with the hunter which adds to the time it takes her to come to a decision. She also has feelings for the heron and would be hurt if the heron were to be killed. Sylvia’s kinship with nature prevails over her infatuation with the hunter. In the end Sylvia’s love of the heron triumphs over the temptation of the reward. This does not happen without serious contemplation. There is somewhat of a fairy tale ending as good prevails over evil.
Though Sylvia eventually makes the correct moral decision, she encounters many obstacles along the way. Sylvia feared the hunter before she knew anything about him. This is shown by this quote: “She did not dare to look boldly at the tall young man, who carried a gun over his shoulder, but she came out of her bush and again followed the cow, while he walked alongside” (390). The hunter is relentless in his pursuit of the heron. Sylvia’s conscience is telling her what the right decision is, but she fears she