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Inspired By Author, Harriet Beecher, Sarah Orne Jewett Wrote, A White Heron

1124 words - 5 pages

Sarah Orne Jewett began writing at an early age as she was inspired by, The Pearl of Orr’s Island written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Jewett began writing in the style of the author of her inspiration and thus fell in love with the style of writing that encapsulated nearly every author of her time, local color writing. Local color writing is a style of writing that became popular just after the Civil War. Many writers began writing with a focus on the way of life and nature in their direct surrounding areas and regions. As mentioned by The Norton Anthology: American Literature Volume 2, local color writing embodies the depiction of, “...the topographies, people, speech patterns, and modes of ...view middle of the document...

This is a fantastic example of topography coming into Jewett’s writing. She mentions the ocean, forrest, a hill that the tree sits on, and the specific kind of tree, a pine. Each of these individually would not make up color writing but once they are all pieced together they create an environment so familiar to Jewett and those who know the coast of Maine well. Jewett writes the story as if the land is capable of enchantment and the reader gets that feel with each description of the land. This too is a crucial aspect of local color, specifically when it comes to satisfying the topography category. While each description of the land may not entirely be specific to Maine, it is their author that constructs such a combination that the land comes alive and is a crucial piece of the story just as crucial as the characters themselves.
The characters in A White Heron are not entirely specific to Maine, but their speech patterns as well as their way of life are for sure. The first example of how the characters add to the local color of the story is when the ornithologist first meets Sylvia. The stranger first met Sylvia out in nature while Sylvia was walking with her grandmother’s cow. The stranger was not in a place that he knew well and asked Sylvia about where the road is. Sylvia helped the stranger because he had lost his way. This is a great example of how A White Heron is local color writing. Sylvia represents her region of Maine and the stranger is just a representation of people from outside of the Maine region that Sylvia hails from. Even though Sylvia is much younger and much less experienced in the wild than the ornithologist, she is able to lead him back to safety because she is so familiar with the lands around the coast of Maine. In other words, the coast of Maine is where Sylvia is most comfortable and even though the ornithologist is fairly experienced in his field he also needs Sylvia’s help finding the white heron. Again, this is a depiction of how the ornithologist is far outside of his own region (even though he was familiar with New England) and Sylvia being from the area is able to...

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