A White Heron

532 Words3 Pages
‘‘A White Heron’’ begins on a June evening near the Maine coast. As the sun sets, nine-year-old Sylvia drives home a cow. This girl has no other friends and really likes these walks with the cow. However, this certain night it has taken her an unusually long time to find the cow and she hopes Mrs. Tilley, her grandmother, will not worry about her. But her grandmother knows that she likes to wander about in the woods so she will not worry. The little girl comes across a stranger in the woods this night and asked her for directions because he was lost. She invites him back to the house for the night and he is happy to learn Sylvia is interested in birds and confesses that he is searching for a certain white heron. He offers Sylvia ten dollars if she will show the hunter where the heron is. The next day they go out looking for the bird but do not find it. They call it a night and go back home. Sylvia leaves early the next morning and climbs a big pine tree where she observes the white herons nest. When she returns home she tells the hunter she is not sure where the nest is and the hunter leaves disappointed. Nine-year-old Sylvia is a child who lives in the wood. Her name, ‘‘Sylvia,’’ and her nickname, ‘‘Sylvy,’’ come from the Latin silva meaning ‘‘wood’’ or ‘‘forest.’’ Sylvia lives in the middle of the woods with grandma Tilley and hardly sees anyone else. She remembers when she lived in the city but never wants to return there. However, when she comes across a hunter who is an older man, she enjoys being around another human being and is not sure what to do with the conflicting emotions she starts to feel. He offers to give her money in exchange for giving up the nesting spot of the white heron. She is the only person who can give him what he needs. What she has to think about though is the betrayal of her relationship with nature and whether or not it is worth it. In the end, she does not reveal the heron’s nesting place. The hunter in the story is heard whistling before we even see him appear. With him, he has a gun and a bag full of dead birds. He stuffs birds for a living and enjoys it very much.
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