Critical Analysis of Sarah Orne Jewett's Short Story "A White Heron"
Set in an isolated portion of Maine, Sarah Orne Jewett's short story "A White Heron" revolves around conflict, a difficult choice a nine-year-old must make which will lead to her losing a new friend. It is the story of a lonely nine-year-old girl name Sylvia who lives in the Maine woods with her grandmother, Mrs. Tilley. As the story progresses Sylvia met a young and appealing ornithologist, often named as "The Hunter", who is in search of a rare bird he spotted in the area. The hunter counted on Sylvia to let him know of the location of the bird; later on Sylvia had to choose between revealing the location of the white heron to the hunter and protecting the bird. At…show more content… She was quite frightened when she first heard the hunter whistling; she interprets it as “not a bird’s whistle which would have a sort of friendliness, but boy’s whistle, determined and somewhat aggressive.” (Jewett 5) Sylvia’s reaction after she heard the whistling signifies her fear of the human kind and the hunter who made the whistle represents a part of Sylvia’s home town which was somewhat too crowded for her. Considering the fact that Sylvia is afraid of the human kind and does not feel comfortable in her home town, she feels at home in the forest and as one with the natural world. But her relationship with nature came to a point where she had to undergo a ritual test to prove her worthiness and courage; “her test takes the form of a literal climb to a higher place, from where she can see the world.” (363) The process of the test consist of a climb to the top of an old pine tree, in the forest, which she believes that one can see the ocean once at the top. She thought, perhaps, she can locate the heron’s nest if she climbs to the top of it. She had difficulty climbing the tree but she had managed with determination and bravery to reach the top. “Sylvia’s courage summons a response from the tree, a deep and intimate bond of trust in which nature rises to the needs of the girl without her asking.” (Atkinson 376) At the top of the pine tree Sylvia had seen the world and she feels like she belongs in it; as