Inspired By Author, Harriet Beecher, Sarah Orne Jewett Wrote, A White Heron

Inspired By Author, Harriet Beecher, Sarah Orne Jewett Wrote, A White Heron

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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.
Topography is the features of land in an area. Those features can include rivers, mountains, lakes, hills, forrests, etc. A White Heron is overflowing with references to the topography of Maine, and more specifically the coast of Maine. The first sentence of Jewett’s A White Heron gives the reader a preview into the appreciation Jewett has for her home state of Maine, “The woods were already filled with shadows one June evening, just before eight o’clock, though a bright sunset still glimmered faintly among the trunks of the trees” (413). While this description isn’t specific to Maine on the surface, it is specific to Jewett’s interpretation of the woods at sunset in Maine, and the beauty of color writing is that each reader will imagine their own sunset based on their own woods in their own region. Jewett was just beginning and her description of the land around her, and as the story progresses the d...


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... is also clear that the white heron represents the true beauty of the region, while it is elusive and not able to be seen by even an experienced ornithologist, it is seen by Sylvia. The spotting of the white heron by Sylvia is Jewett’s way of expressing that true beauty of a region is only discoverable by those who are so familiar with the region that they can appreciate every aspect of nature’s beauty and once every foot of ground is known, only then can one appreciate the true beauty of the region and in this case that beauty is represented by the white heron. Jewett’s A White Heron is an excellent example of local color literature because it represents everything local color literature should. It contains characters and dialect specific to the region of Maine (Mrs. Tilley) as well as excellent descriptions of the topography of Maine and the beauty of the region.

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