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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‘A White Heron,’ by Sarah Orne Jewett

The pine tree seemed to grow taller, the higher that Sylvie climbed. She helps the old woman by taking over some of the more manual jobs, such as finding Mistress Moolly, the cow, each evening in the fields where she grazes and brings her home. What is it that suddenly forbids her and makes her dumb? Dan an’ his father they didn’t hitch, — but he never held up his head ag’in after Dan had dared him an’ gone off. Her plan was to climb to the top of the pine tree.

And it would have a nest perhaps in the top of a high tree, made of sticks, something like a hawk’s nest. Losing her father encouraged a need to be a strong and powerful young girl. 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.

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. All she wanted to think about was what the stranger would say to her when she told him where to find the heron’s nest.


Besides, Sylvie wanted to make him happy. The sparrows and robins in the woods below were beginning to wake and twitter to the dawn, yet it seemed much lighter there q in the pine-tree, and the child knew she must hurry if her project were to be of any use.

The woods were already filled with shadows one June evening, just before eight o’clock, though a bright sunset still glimmered faintly among the trunks of the trees. Tilley said to herself, with a smile, after she had made the unlikely choice of Sylvia from her daughter’s houseful of children, and was returning to the farm.


But she was too late. The child hurried the cow through the dark forest, following a narrow path that led to her grandmother’s home. The murmur of the pine’s green branches is in her ears, she remembers how the white heron came flying through the golden air and how they watched the sea and the morning together, and Sylvia cannot speak; she cannot tell the heron’s secret and give its life away. If you find errors in this text or if you see items that you believe should be annotated, please communicate with the site manager.

A young man, an ornitholo-gist from the city, is tracking a rare white heron to add to his collection.

Both her grandmother and the young man stood up as she came into the kitchen. You are commenting using your WordPress. Sylvia knows that she would be awarded much-needed money for directing him to the hsron, but she decides that she can play no part in bringing about the bird’s death.

There, I don’t blame him, I’d ha’ seen the world myself if it had been so I could. There’s good pasturing for geese just below here towards the ma’sh. She could not tell the heron’s secret and give its life away. But Sylvia is so affected by her leaf-top observation of the heron and other wildlife that she cannot bring herself to disclose the heron’s location to the hunter after all, despite his entreaties. The white heron smoothed its feathers and called to its mate, sitting on their nest in a nearby tree.

Pool sees a parallel between Sylvia’s repudiation of mature love and Jewett’s own choice never to marry. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. 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.

Ways of Looking at “A White Heron ” “. I’ve been looking for it ever since. Her choice requires that she sacrifice both the money, a sizable sum to the girl and her grandmother, and the friendship the man has offered. She also discovers her passion for country life and her love and values for the animals that inhabit it. She knows his secret now, the wild, light, slender bird that floats and wavers, and goes back like an arrow presently to his home in the green world beneath. Before that, she had lived with her mother and father in a dirty, crowded factory town.


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. The sound of her own unquestioned voice would have terrified her — it was hard enough to answer yes or no when there was need of that.

The young man explained he was a scientist, who collected birds. Some criticism has even acknowledged the fact that the main character of the story may have been loosely based off Jewett’s life growing up. See Tales of New England for a slightly different text and a table of differences between these two versions. Westward, the woodlands and farms reached miles and miles into the distance; here and there were church steeples, and white villages, truly it was a vast and awesome world.

She was sure she would be able to see where the white heron had hidden its nest. The cow gave a loud moo by way of explanation. The air was soft and sweet. She began thinking how it was only a year ago that she came to her grandmother’s farm.


As the story progresses, Sylvia is challenged with whether or not she should tell the hunter she saw the bird. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here The young man stood his gun beside the door, and dropped a lumpy game-bag beside it; then he bade Mrs. You are commenting using your Twitter account. What a spirit of adventure, what wild ambition! And he gave her a jack-knife, which she thought as great a treasure as if she were a desert-islander.

Maybe she can help me then,” the young man said. The old pine must have loved his new dependent. The cow finished drinking, and as the 9-year-old child hurried through the forest to the home she loved, she thought again about the noisy town where her parents still lived.

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? Tilley and her z give the young man shelter for the night.