Man versus Nature
The Earth is home to everyone; plants, animals, and humans. We all share the space that the universe has created, and sometimes people forget that humans and animals share the same space, and they abuse the creatures who are their, “earth-born companions”(Burns). Animals must have a terrible opinion of those who come to hunt and destroy for sport. This is the basis for Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story in which a young girl understands the bond that exists between her and nature.
Sarah Orne Jewett lived a short life from 1849-1909 and is most remembered for the short story a “A White Heron.” She created heroes of every shape and size who help themselves and others, and as Shackford said, “All of her stories are loosely woven narratives.” One of her best narratives “A White Heron” tells the story of a nine year old girl Sylvia who saves a heron from certain death. Because Sylvia understood nature and the animals she lived with, she became a hero that no human would never know. In the short story “A White Heron,” Sarah Orne Jewett portrays the theme man and nature must share the earth, represented through symbolism and conflict.
Jewett portrays the theme man versus nature through the use of symbolism. For example, “One thing is certain: her own character had made as good a summer’s growth as anything on her farm”(Jewett). Sylvia learns to trust her own feelings and does not give in to her grandmother and the hunter. Sylvia has saved a white heron and its family from the hunter because she made a choice to not to listen “to an external voice and heeds an internal one”(Billy). Sylvia learns to respect the world she lives in and the animals she shares it with. Her grandmother says, “There ain't a foot o' ground she don't know her way over, and the wild creatur's counts her one o' themselves. Squer'ls she'll tame to come an' feed right out o' her hands, and all sorts o' birds”(Jewett). Sylvia has the power of knowledge that escapes her grandparents and the hunter. She symbolizes everything good about nature.
Another major symbol is the white heron itself. It symbolizes the beauty of nature because it belongs to the earth and has no schemes to harm anyone. The forest is its home and it seems to appreciate the beauty of the trees and the sky. The heron begins each new day with a positive attitude that helps Sylvia understand her place in nature. Jewett writes, “the heron has perched on a pine bough not far beyond yours, and cries back to his mate on the nest and plumes his feathers for the new day!”(Jewett). Whatever Sylvia lost in material wealth, the heron symbolizes a new view of the world she lives in, one in which she shares with the animals and the birds. “The heron embodies an eminent expression of nature, of a world apart from man's dominion and worthy of the girl's devotion,”(Church) and the hunter is no part of it because he neither appreciates or understands nature.
The most destructive symbol in the story is...