Nature: Mankind’s Friend, Or Foe? Essay

780 words - 4 pages

The short story “The White Heron” has a benevolent view of nature and it’s interactions with mankind, as opposed to “The Law of Life” by Jack London. That particular story conveys a message of inevitable death, and an unforgiving nature that demands complete obedience and can only promise one thing to an individual. That they shall meet their impending doom, though none can say where or when. Here, we shall compare and contrast a multitude of different motifs and underlying themes, including the opposition of nature to mankind, the interactions of the protagonists with nature, and the role of the antagonists, whether it is natural or not.
How do you, the reader believe that nature acts regarding mankind? As much as mankind seems to idolize and romanticize nature, sooner or later, we must realize our own naiveté and acknowledge nature as a wild and lethal force independent of man. The truth is that nature has no more regard for man than we might have for a particularly annoying bug. According to Jack London, Nature demands perfection, and anything less deserves death. However, in “The White Heron,” nature is benevolent and peaceful, and you can clearly see the departure from the past ways of the puritans and a clear transition to a blend of romanticism and naturalism form a cohesive and entertaining short story. Nature, and it’s interactions with people are drastically different in the two stories, leading to two vastly different protagonists.
For Instance, in the White Heron, the protagonists is a little girl called Sylvia who grows in her understanding of the world. As she learns more about herself and matures, she realizes the world isn’t always as rosy as she thought, and that if she wants something badly enough, she has to fight to defend it. So far, her world is restricted to the small homestead and the surrounding area, and her limited knowledge of a crowded manufacturing town. Her horizons are expanded by a handsome Ornithologist who she actually becomes infatuated with. He gifts her a jack-knife, and she spends all the time she can around him. Sylvia finally reaches maturity when she realizes that it would be a shame to kill such a majestic animal,...

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