Heron and Other Stories. Sarah Orne Jewett .. I caught a glimpse of a white heron a few miles from here on Saturday, and I have followed it in this direction. A WHITE HERON Source for information on A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett , Reference Guide to Short Fiction dictionary. Use our free chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis of A White Heron. It helps middle and high school students understand Sarah Orne Jewett’s literary.

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She knew that strange white bird!

And he gave her a jack-knife, which she thought as great a treasure as if she were a desert-islander. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. There, when she made the dangerous pass from one tree to the other, the great enterprise would really begin. When Sylvia climbs the tree as a bird might, she arrives at an epiphany at the tree’s top. The short summer night seemed as long as the winter darkness, and at last when the whippoorwills ceased, and she was afraid the morning would after all come too soon, she stole out of the house and followed the pasture path through the woods, hastening toward the open ground beyond, listening with a sense of comfort and companionship to the drowsy twitter of a half-awakened bird, whose perch she had jarred in passing.

The way was harder than she thought; she must reach far and hold fast, the sharp dry twigs caught and held her and scratched her like angry talons, the pitch made her thin little fingers clumsy and stiff as she went round and round the tree’s great stem, higher and higher upward. Don’t be afraid,” he added gallantly.

Sylvie spent the next day in the forest with the young man. I’ll milk right off, and you make yourself at home. It was almost too real and too great for the childish heart to bear. She isn’t a very good one story, but I love her, and I mean to keep her for the beginning of my next book and the reason for Mrs. Onre feels bad about not being able to give the man what he seeks, even taking on a submissive position by following and not speaking first.


Sylvia was more alarmed than before. The cow stopped at a small stream to drink. Has she been nine years growing and now, when the great world for the first time puts out a hand to her, must she thrust it aside for a bird’s sake? In a biographical reading of the story, Eugene H. He is so well worth making happy, and he waits to hear the story she can tell. Sylvia’s face was like a pale star, if one had seen it from the ground, when the last thorny bough was past, and she stood trembling and tired but wholly triumphant, high in the tree-top.

The pine tree’s sticky sap made her fingers feel stiff and clumsy as she climbed higher and higher. But who could have foreseen such an accident as this? Indeed, critics have found much to discuss in this ostensibly simple story. As she follows the ornithologist, he shoots birds out of the air or of trees and Sylvia begins to question why a scientist must kill the birds he studies. The story concerns Sylvia, a shy little girl who, rescued by her grandmother from life in “a crowded manufacturing town,” now feels at home in the Maine woods.

Jewett kept her faith in it, however, and included it in her collection A White Heron and Other Stories Now step round and set a plate for the gentleman, Sylvy! This tale about the test of a young girl’s love of nature has become one of Jewett’s most popular stories. The splendid moment to speak about her secret had come.

Besides, Sylvie wanted to make him happy. Losing her father encouraged a need to be a strong and powerful young girl. A bird with broad white wings and a long slender neck flew past Sylvie and landed on a pine branch below her. But as the day waned, Sylvia still watched the young man with loving admiration.

The good woman suspected that Sylvia loitered occasionally on her own account; there never was such a child for straying about out-of-doors since the world was made! Wondering over and over again what the stranger would say to her, and what he would think when she told him how to find his way straight to the heron’s nest.


When they reached her, the stranger put down his gun and explained his problem to Sylvie’s smiling grandmother. It probably has its nest at the top of a tall tree. Who knows how steadily the least twigs held themselves to advantage this light, weak creature on her way!


Sylvia would have liked him vastly better without his gun; she could not understand why he killed the very birds he seemed to like so much. When the cow heard Sylvie’s voice calling her, she would hide among the bushes. She was glad they were almost home. The sparrows and robins in the woods below were beginning to wake and twitter to the dawn, yet it seemed much lighter there aloft in the pine-tree, and the child knew she must hurry if her project were to be of any use.

Early commentators pointed out how the tale fit into the canon of the local color school. A strange excitement whjte her heart, a new feeling the little whitf did not recognize … love.

A White Heron

Many a night Sylvia heard the echo of his whistle haunting the pasture path as she came z with the loitering cow. She felt her heart tremble every time he shot an unsuspecting bird as it was singing in the trees.

Many feminist whitte have seen the story as a confrontation between a patriarchal value system—the young man with his gun and money—and a matriarchal world—the female-centered natural sanctuary. Sylvie’s bare feet and tiny fingers grabbed the tree’s rough trunk. Though Sylvia “would have liked him vastly better without his gun,” she watches him with “loving admiration. The grandmother and the sportsman stand in the door together and question her, and the splendid moment has come to speak of the dead hemlock-tree by the green marsh.

It follows a young city girl named Sylvia who came to live with her grandmother in the country. The story ends with the narrator’s apostrophe to nature: