Symbolism in a white heron

             Sarah Orne Jewett’s “A White Heron” is a beautifully descriptive story told in the third person omniscient narration. This is about the protagonist, a young girl named Sylvia. This short story is made up of two main elements being conflict and symbolism that revolve around the main character Sylvia and also the amazing bird, the white heron. The conflict is mostly inner conflict revolving around the devastating decision the young girl must make. The symbolism while hidden, can be quickly recognized by the stress of certain objects.
             It is easy to relate the author’s life to Sylvia’s. One could assume that the story of the heron is much about Jewett’s own life. Jewett was a sickly girl much like Sylvia. Jewett also chose never to be with a man, as she was never married. This relates greatly to Sylvia because in the short story, Sylvia chose nature over the presence of a man.
             The reader learns about Sylvia not only from the narrator’s description but from what others say about her in the text. The reader learns that this young girl lived in the city and all her life there was sickly. It was said that “it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm.” Mrs. Tilley also stated that Sylvia was “Afraid of Folks”. This statement tells outright that the city life and the hustle and bustle of it was not for this young girl. Sylvia was not in the right place when she lived in the noisy town and she proves her independence by moving away from her entire family. Sylvia’s freedom from the city life can further be shown by describing her as barefoot in the stream. This freedom is the young girl being unrestricted from the society of the city. This paragraph is also described as peaceful and calm, a paradox to the city life she so dislikes. Nothing in the paragraph is described as being disliked but it is described more in adoration.
             There are many points in the s...

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Symbolism in a white heron. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:29, January 21, 2017, from