Femininity against Masculinity in A White Heron Essay

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Since its first appearance in the 1886 collection A White Heron and Other Stories, the short story A White Heron has become the most favorite and often anthologized of Sarah Orne Jewett. Like most of this regionalist writer's works, A White Heron was inspired by the people and landscapes in rural New England, where, as a little girl, she often accompanied her doctor father on his visiting patients. The story is about a nine-year-old girl who falls in love with a bird hunter but does not tell him the white heron's place because her love of nature is much greater. In this story, the author presents a conflict between femininity and masculinity by juxtaposing Sylvia, who has a peaceful life in country, to a hunter from town, which implies her …show more content…
?Sylvia still watched the young man with loving admiration. She had never seen anybody so charming and delightful, the woman?s heart, asleep in the child, was vaguely thrilled by a dream of love.? As the symbol of masculinity, the hunter is an aggressor although he is described to be kind, handsome, friendly and sympathetic. When first met Sylvia in the woods, he ?called out in a very cheerful and persuasive tone? and spoke to her in a courteous way. In fact, he takes advantages of Sylvia because he is in need of home and food. When he needs Sylvia?s help, he proves he cares for her so much, ?He listened eagerly to the old woman?s quaint talk, he watched Sylvia?s pale face and shining gray eyes with ever growing enthusiasm.? ?He told her many things about the birds and what they knew and where they lived and what they did with themselves. And he gave her a jack-knife, which she thought as great a treasure as if she were a desert-islander.? However, he is cruel and merciless to nature, his gun is a convention which is to destroy the nature. ?I have been hunting for some birds?. At the end, he goes away and does not help her family when she refuses to tell him about the heron?s nest.
Not only their characters, but Sylvia?s and the hunter?s behaviors towards the nature are very different and contrasting. Both of them love birds, however the way they show their love is dissimilar. Although saying that
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