"Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it" (Baldwin). All experiences spring out of innocence. Sarah Orne Jewett expresses this through the story “The White Heron.” She uses the story to show how easily innocence can be influenced. "For Jewett, it seems to have been a personal 'myth' that expressed her own experience and the experience of other women in the nineteenth century who had similar gifts, aspirations, and choices" (Griffith). Her personal experiences include her living in Maine with her dad and two sisters. She had a medical degree but turned to writing because of poor health. She represented many women during the hard times of the 19th century.
The story is about a friendly hunter who comes to a budding girl named Sylvia for help to find a bird for his collection. He offers her ten dollars. At first, she agrees because of the impression the hunter makes on her. Later, she has a revelation through her love for the forest and neglects to tell him where the bird is. Sylvia represents the purity of innocence and has a bond with the natural world. Many of Sylvia’s thoughts are associated with the ability to be free. This exemplifies the women’s rights activism that was happening in the 19th century. Sarah Orne Jewett develops her theme of the change from innocence to experience in her short story “The White Heron” through the use of imagery, characterization, and symbolism.
The imagery used in “The White Heron” is shown through the relationship that is formed with Sylvia and the pine tree. She realizes that she needs to connect with nature and not let human greed take over. “The pine tree seemed to grow taller, the higher that Sylvie climbed. The sky began to brighten in the east. Sylvie’s face was lik...
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...travagance of Sarah Orne Jewett: Voices of Authority in ‘A White Heron.’” Studies in Short Fiction 19.1 (Winter 1982): 71-74. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Justin Karr. Vol. 44. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.
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Griffith, Kelley, Jr. “Sylvia as Hero in Sarah Orne Jewett’s ‘A White Heron.’” Colby Library Quarterly 21.1 (Mar. 1985): 22-27. Rpt. in Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2014.Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.
A White Heron and Other Stories. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Jewett Texts. Web. 5 Feb. 2014. .
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Furthermore, they all have an outside threat. The ornithologist might shoot the heron and make it a specimen while the man is suffered from the severe cold weather. In the stories both characters have to deal with the danger from outside world. Sylvia has to climb upon the tree to see where the heron is, the man has to avoid the snow falls from the tree.
Sarah Orne Jewett began writing at an early age as she was inspired by, The Pearl of Orr’s Island written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Jewett began writing in the style of the author of her inspiration and thus fell in love with the style of writing that encapsulated nearly every author of her time, local color writing. Local color writing is a style of writing that became popular just after the Civil War. Many writers began writing with a focus on the way of life and nature in their direct surrounding areas and regions. As mentioned by The Norton Anthology: American Literature Volume 2, local color writing embodies the depiction of, “...the topographies, people, speech patterns, and modes of life of the nation’s distinctive regions” (412). Sarah Orne Jewett’s, A White Heron unquestionably fits each one of those categories mentioned.
Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake." Studies in the Novel 43.4 (2011): 470. Academic OneFile. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
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.
Margaret had huge dreams of one day becoming a writer, but those dreams were put on hold when her father suddenly passed away in 1835. At this time, her mother was also sick and it became her responsibility to take care of her family’s finances. There were not many job opportunities available to women during this time, she found a teaching job and accepted the position. She first began teaching at Bronson Alcott’s Temple School in Boston and taught there until she went on to teach at the well-kn...
“The Raven.” The American Tradition in Literature, 12th ed. New York: McGraw Hill 2009. Print
Right from the first stanza, we can clearly see that the girl emphasizes her passionate feelings towards the boy by explaining how she desires to be close to her love. Moreover, she expresses the theme of love through using a narrative of how she is prepared to trap a bird. Apparently, this symbolizes how she is prepared to trap her lover’s feelings with the desire to live together all through her life. Additionally, the young lady emphasizes on her overall beauty, her beautiful hair, and clothing which is of the finest linen which she uses to attracts her lover’s attention (Hennessy & Patricia, p.
The entire poem is based on powerful metaphors used to discuss the emotions and feelings through each of the stages. For example, she states “The very bird/grown taller as he sings, steels/ his form straight up. Though he is captive (20-22).” These lines demonstrate the stage of adulthood and the daily challenges that a person is faced with. The allusions in the poem enrich the meaning of the poem and force the reader to become more familiar with all of the meaning hidden behind the words. For example, she uses words such as innocence, imprisonment and captive to capture the feelings experienced in each of the stages.
Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. 8th ed. Vol A. New York: W.
Evans, Robert C., Anne C. Little, and Barbara Wiedemann. Short Fiction: A Critical Companion. West Cornwall, CT: Locust Hill, 1997. 265-270.
The story “A Brutal Murder in a Public Place” by Joyce Carol Oates follows a person in an airport who hears a small bird but cannot seem to find it. Oates uses imagery and symbolism between the narrator and the bird to show how trapped and overlooked the narrator truly feels.
The story mentions, "a great pine-tree stood, the last of its generation" (Jewett). Sylvia was well aware of this tree, and the challenge it presented to her. Sylvia begins to represent similar characteristics of the tree, standing up even though she and the tree have no choice but to stand strong. Sylvia has a choice to help the hunter and pick man over nature, but she feels one with nature and wants to stand up for nature. Sylvia "thought of the tree with a new excitement, for why, if one climbed it at bread of the day, could not one see all the world, and easily discover from whence the white heron flew" (Jewett). Sylvia believes that if someone climbed the great pine tree they could find the white heron, and she plans on trying to find the heron's nest for the hunter. While the hunter and her grandmother were asleep she sneaks out of the house to get a head start to find the heron. Sylvia starts climbing trees to scout for the white heron, and "She crept out along the swaying oak limb at last, and took the daring step across into the old pine-tree" (Jewett). Sylvia has determination while being courageous jumping from tree to tree to find the white heron, also feeling a refreshing spark of energy. This energy is described as a "determined spark of human spirit wending its way from higher branch to branch" (Jewett). Sylvia has this excitement expecting to see the world once she climbs to the top of the pine tree. Once she reaches the top, she sees birds flying and "Sylvia felt as if she too could go flying away among the clouds" (Jewett). While being up high as the clouds, Sylvia could see the world as beautiful unlike she has seen before. While being sky level, Sylvia finally spots the white herons