A White Heron By Sarah Orne Jewett

Submitted By corinadempsey
Words: 873
Pages: 4

The short story, “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett, is about a young girl named Sylvie. She has an eye opening experience while searching for a bird in the forest by her Grandmother’s house. One day while fetching the family cow, she meets a young man who is a bird hunter. He has spotted a White Heron and offers her ten dollars to help him find it. After one unsuccessful day of searching, Sylvie decides to take matters into her own hands. She sneaks out, before sunrise, and heads to the forest. After climbing the highest Pine tree she could find, she spots the White Heron. She sees where the bird’s nest is at and hears it’s mating call. Although she is torn between her love and admiration for the young man and her new found connection to the bird, she decides to stay silent on its whereabouts. When young people are exposed to new things in life, fascination may play the part of a feeling of love; once exposed to truer connections those feelings may overcome all others. The main character, Sylvie, is a dynamic character. She is a shy little girl. Her grandmother chose her, amongst her siblings, to move away from the busy city and live on the farm. When Sylvie first hears the young man in the forest, her first instinct is to hide. When found, she only says two words to him. Even though Sylvie chooses not to talk to the young man, very much, she finds herself becoming increasingly fond of him. When they go back into the forest together, Sylvie “watches the man with eyes full of admiration.” She even ventures to say she loves him. Although she has these feelings, she never speaks or acts upon them. After climbing the tree, seeing the sunrise, and spotting the White Heron, Sylvie becomes excited to tell the young man her news. Her return home is what causes her to have a change of heart. She decides against telling the young man about her sighting of the bird. Her connection with the White Heron is greater than what she felt for the young man. She didn’t want to see such a beautiful thing be shot down. Her loyalty to the bird overcomes her enchantment of the young man. The conflict in this story is within Sylvie. Her adoration for the man and her connection to the bird became a conflict of interest. Sylvie wants to please the young man. She “wants to be his friend” and wants to help him. Showing the young man where the White Heron’s nest is located at would make him very happy. On the contrary, Sylvie feels a heavy connection to the White Heron. She loves the birds and the forest. She “could not understand why [the young man] killed the birds he seemed to like so much.” Sylvie decides that the life of the bird and her connection with it is much stronger than her relationship with the young man. The point of view of the story is third person omniscient. The narrator is not only telling the story, but it is allowing you to know the thoughts of Sylvie as it progresses. This point of view is useful because it allows us to understand what Sylvie is feeling. She doesn’t have a lot of dialogue so being able to read her thoughts is prudent in developing a central idea. Having