A White Heron

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Sarah Orne Jewett wrote A White Heron, a story of a shy girl who lives on a farm with her grandmother, and meets a hunter who enlists her help in finding a white heron. The author's purpose is to let the reader know the obvious theme of the story and analyze it to interpret the not so obvious theme and the message of the story. Sylvia, the girl, faces herself in a tough decision-making; she matures and develops morals throughout the story. The hunter expresses how much he would like to find a heron and offers ten dollars to whoever shows him where it is. The little girl goes out to find the heron to please the hunter, whom she likes. Sylvia faces two possible results: If she chooses to lead the hunter where the heron is, she and her grandma would take the money, which they needed, and the hunter would kill the bird.

If she chooses to keep her secret and not divulge it, she would save the bird's life, but she wouldn't make the hunter happy or get the money. The little girl chooses not to reveal her secret. The difficulty to make a decision and choosing wisely shows maturity. At first, she went out looking for the heron not thinking of what could or would happen to the bird. But then when she found the white heron, she didn't like the thought of losing its friendship. Sylvia's decision shows morality too, for instance, she decided to give up money for the heron's life, even if that meant losing the hunter's friendship. So the message of the story could be "Money doesn't buy happiness."