Literary Analysis of 'a White Heron'

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Date Submitted: 09/15/2012 11:12 AM

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“Literary Analysis of ‘A White Heron’”

After finishing a story, the reader should feel as though they were taken on a journey by the writer. The reader wants to feel as though they connected with the characters on a personal level and understood where the characters in the story were coming from through their life experiences. Imagery, through vivid detail, is one way to get the reader to develop a picture in their minds eye of the surroundings of the characters, as well as their thoughts and feelings. The author of ‘A White Heron’ used a specific narrative third person point of view with great details that helped to picture the setting. Accompanied with lighthearted tones, the author managed to accomplish taking the reader on an unforgettable journey as they learned more about the lives of the characters portrayed in this story.

Sarah Orne Jewett’s ‘A White Heron’ was a short story written in a third person point of view. As a nonparticipant narrator, this above all position allowed the author to be all knowing of the places, people and events that unfolded. It gives the narrator a “voice of authority which never reveals its source and is capable of moving from place to place to describe action and report dialogue.” (Gwynn 20) The primary focus of the short story was usually on the main character, Sylvia, but at any time in the story, information about other places or people was easily incorporated and understood. “It was a surprise to find so clean and comfortable a little dwelling in this New England wilderness. The young man had known the horrors of its most primitive housekeeping, and the dreary squalor of that level of society which does not rebel at the companionship of hens.” (Jewett 65) Excerpts like these show the easy transition from how most of the story shadows Sylvia’s experiences to the feelings and thoughts of the young man who made himself a visitor at Sylvia’s grandmother’s home while hunting native birds of the area. The third person...