What do you think is real about realism?
I find American literature is made harmonious in the reader's mind as they experience the familiar emotions and almost tangible moments of an author’s expression of realism. Realism is the experiential expression of reality through the written word, as articulated prolifically throughout Sarah Orne Jewett’s, “White Heron”.
“A White Heron”
“A White Heron” is a story that daintily woos the reader into the pure and precious mind of a reclusive young girl. The nostalgic setting of a child’s summer vacation provides Mrs. Jewett’s readers with the quintessence of the local color realism technique indicative for this era of American literature. She conceives a tranquil backdrop to be relished by those who have experienced the country living Mrs. Tilley and Sylvia possess. The quant woodland home, the forest that is routinely combed, and the treasure of tweeting birds from scattered foliage convey local color realism into this fine literary work. Mrs. Jewett writes,
“There was a stirring in the great boughs overhead. They were full of little birds
and beasts that seemed to be wide awake, and going about their world, or else
saying good-night to each other in sleepy twitters”(523).
It is through the portal of Sylvia’s heart that the reader is given a bird’s eye view of the sacrosanct setting colored beautifully by Mrs. Jewett’s writing. Particularly interesting, is the interaction between Sylvia and the young man. This man has a mysteriousness that cloaks his presence through the narrative. This truth is made evident through Jewett’s abstention of the handsome stranger’s name. Just as Sylvia initially finds herself unable to feel safe around the young man, the reader understandably will also use caution in allowing the man to be trusted. Sylvia’s interactions with him are what enliven the words Jewett is sharing with her reader. One can find a comfortable place to recline in the warm heart of Sylvia, as she is slowly assuaged from the charm and kindness he has shown her. It is evident from reading “A White Heron” that Mrs. Jewett is ardently comfortable with using realism in her work.
Jewett, Sarah Orne. “A White Heron”. “Krupta, Reessman &. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W.W Norton & Company, 2007.520-528