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Irony In A White Heron
Sarah Orne Jewett was born in South Berwrick, Maine (actually she is a native of New England). I would say ‘A white Heron’ is one of Sarah’s best regionalism works. Sarah began to write stories at her young age. She wrote stories by her everyday life experiences and publishes at her teens. “In ‘A White Heron’ a young girl’s conflicted loyalties to her conception of herself in nature and to the world of men she will soon encounter are memorable and sensitively drawn”.
This is the story of nine year old girl named Sylvia. This is the short story of Sylvia who is actually experiencing an innocent childhood life has found a new changes in herself and discover her womanhood by short period of time. We could say even this story also had the setting of Sarah’s own experienced place which is her native New England. In ‘A white Heron’ Sylvia was living with her grandmother. Sarah started this story by expressing the innocence of the 9 year old little Sylvia. Everybody said that it was a good change for a little maid who had tried to grow for eight years in a crowded manufacturing town, but, as for Sylvia herself it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm” She completely living a life which is opposite of city’s life.
And Sylvia loved this peaceful and simple life with her grandmother and of course the other mother “Nature”. This story starts with Sylvia searching for her cow in one fine summer evening in the wood forest. It was her greatest pleasure to hide herself away among the high huckleberry bushes, and though she wore a loud bell she had made the discovery that if one stood perfectly still it would not ring”. It shows that Sylvia and her cow were playing hide and seek on that night while going back their home. “Suddenly this little woods girl is horror stricken to hear a clear whistle not very far away. Not a bird’s whistle, which would have a sort of friendliness, but a boy’s whistle”. During their journey Sylvia heard a boy’s whistled and met that stranger.
He was hunter and he was actually lost his way and asked for Sylvia’s help and he asked her “Speak up and tell me what your name is, and whether you think I can spend the night at your house and go out gunning early in the morning”. Sylvia continued her journey with her cow and the hunter and finally they reached home. “Mrs. Tilley was standing in the doorway when the trio came into view… The young man stood his gun beside the door, and dropped a lumpy game bag beside it; then he bade Mrs. Tilley good evening and repeated his warer’s story”.
Grandma and the hunter were talking and Sylvia was playing outside in the moonlight. “But as the day waned, 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”. Hunter was very kind to them and he looks handsome. Next day Sylvia found some changes in herself. She felt like that she drawn for the stranger. Here some sort of her womanhood can be seen instead of her childhood innocence.
We can say that her childhood innocence has started to move backward and her adult feeling comes forward. The hunter was looking for very rare white heron. He came to know that Sylvia is aware of all kind of birds. And he also knew that Sylvia and her grandmother are poor. “I can’t think of anything I should like so much as to find that heron’s nest, the handsome stranger was saying, I would give ten dollars to anybody who could show it to me”. He has given a try to know about the heron by asking indirectly to Sylvia by saying he could give ten dollars for anyone who helps him to find that bird.
Sylvia could possibly accept that ten dollars and help the hunter to find the white heron. “No amount of thought, that night, could decide how many wished-for treasures the ten dollars, so lightly spoken of, would buy”. She was thinking about the pine tree which can be seen at the edge of the forest. She knew that she can find the heron over there and she went to that place next day morning itself. “She had often climbed there, and knew that higher still one of the oak’s upper boughs were set close together…she went up and reach farther and farther upward”. She reached top of the tree.
And she came across the best things in her life. We could say she is experiencing the ‘symbol of natures’. From the top view she is watching the whole forest; she could see the see in the moon view. Finally here is the time for the sun rise and ready to find the white heron. “Look, look! A white spot of him like a single floating feather comes up from the dead hemlock and grows larger, and rises, and comes at last, and goes by the landmark pine with steady sweep of wing … plumes his feather for the new day” As the sun started to glow Sylvia found the rare white heron and its nest.
By reaching top of the big tree it-self shows that Sylvia has reached her womanhood and put aside her childhood innocence. Sylvia now knows the secret of white heron but she is decided not to reveal this to anyone. She doesn’t want to give up the life of the bird just for ten dollars even though money is important for her. She valued the bird’s life more than the money. She would not be satisfied and feel happier even with those ten dollars more than how she feels by saving white heron’s life. Whatever treasures were lost to her, woodlands and summer-time, remember! ” Sylvia has discovered her womanhood by climbing the big tree and by keeping the secret of the bird. She has found the treasures of herself and love towards nature. Sarah explains the importance of moral values of young girls towards this story. She is claimed that Sylvia has taken the right decision at right time. She did what her heart said and she valued lives and nature more than money. In life our every day to day decision would bring big changes in our future.