Love Story

A White Heron By Sarah Orne Jewett-literature story books

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The woods were already filled with shadows, though a bright sunset still glimmered faintly among the trunks of the trees. A little girl was driving home her cow, a plodding, dilatory provoking creature in her behaviour. She lives with her grandmother at a country farm. The young girl is energised and transformed by the experience. She listened to the thrushes with a heart fast with pleasure. An enemy breaks the blissful solitude of Sylvia with her animal friends. Suddenly this woods- the girl is a horror-stricken to hear a clear whistle, and that was not a bird’s whistle. The young man is carrying a gun, symbolising his focus on destruction. The stranger reveals he has been hunting for birds and has become lost. He tells her he is looking for a place to stay. She seems to be better attuned than her grandmother is at this point to appreciate the danger such a visitor could bring. But he is invited to stay and is impressed with the ‘clean and comfortable little dwelling’.The wild creaturs count her one o’ themselves. She knows all about birds. Mrs Tilley’s dialect is endearing and contrasts with the diction of the stranger. This lack of understanding between Mrs Tilley and the young man is symbolic The stranger believes that he has a love of birds However he shows by killing and stuffing them -dozens and dozens of them The stranger is a hunter. Sylvia is the real lover of birds ‘She would have liked him better without his gun. She could not understand why he killed the birds he seemed to like so much. We see the allusions as the stranger offers ten dollars to locate a heron. He turned again to look at Sylvia with the hope of discovering that the rare bird was one of her acquaintances, But Sylvia has more regard for her animal companions that this new person. He bewitches Sylvia and presents her with a jackknife as a gift The knife is symbolic of him attempting to get her to understand and accept his destructive ways .-;The woman’s heart asleep in the child was vaguely thrilled by a dream of love She is excited at the prospect of revealing the whereabouts of the heron to the stranger . Gray as a colour is symbolic of Sylvia’s blurring between the world of innocence -white and the world of experience -black Now look down again, Sylvia where you saw the white heron once ‘.Although part of her wishes to make the young man happy, she chooses to protect the bird instead. The animal smile may have been appropriate in her imagination, but the idea of a dog does not fit with the wild natural spirit “Were the birds better friends than their hunter might have been -Who can tell ?’Sylvia is not yet ready to enter into the great stream of social life, and to do so too soon would threaten her ability to create and maintain a healthy self .

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