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Nature And Nature In The White Heron By Sarah Orne Jewett

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“The White Heron” is a classic short story written by Sarah Orne Jewett. In this short story, nature is an essential key element to theme. The reader can also relate in many ways to the main character, Sylvia. Sylvia and the reader have many similar thoughts. For instance, one way they can relate is how they both love nature and think of it as their companion. However, while they have a love for humans, it is to a lesser extent. The author, Sarah Orne Jewett, was born on September 3, 1849 and died June 24, 1909. She grew up around Berwick, Maine. This is the setting of many of her short stories along with the New England wilderness. In "The White Heron," the main character is a girl named Sylvia. She is also the protagonist of the story. There is also another character that is very important. He is the hunter, who is the antagonist of the story. Throughout the story, Sylvia is battling to keep the hunter from finding and killing the white heron for his bird collection. Throughout this short story, there is the very important theme of flesh versus spirit. In “The White Heron,” Sylvia’s previous experience with the white heron leads to her decision flesh versus spirit. Before the short story begins, the reader can imply that Sylvia created a connection with the white heron. Therefore, in the novel, Sylvia made the decision of stopping the hunter from finding and killing the white heron. Sarah Orne Jewett
Holt 2 develops her theme of flesh versus nature in her short story through the use of characterization imagery, and symbolism.
One of the ways Jewett exhibits the theme of flesh versus spirit is through the use characterization. In the story an example of characterization is “Sometimes in pleasant weather it was a consolation to ...

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... discussing the pine tree the white heron lives in. Jewett says “...at the farther edge of the woods, where the land was highest, a great pine-tree stood, the last of its generation” (Jewett). While this quote has symbolism of the pine tree, there are two different meanings of the tree. For one, it shows the goodness of nature and the clearness of thought. The pine tree can also represent the climax of the decision Sylvia has to make. “Sylvia can view everything from the top of the pine tree and it splits in two showing two paths Sylvia could go down in her life” (Norton). Since this is where the white heron lives, the pine tree is probably the most important part of the setting in the short story. Both of these meanings of the pine tree relate to Sylvia choosing nature over human. As a result, Sylvia decided not to tell the hunter where the white heron was settled.
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