The Rural Privilege In

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The Rural Privilege in & # 8220 ; A White Heron & # 8221 ;

Sarah Orne Jewett & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; A White Heron & # 8221 ; is a superb narrative of an speculative immature miss named Sylvia. Jewett & # 8217 ; s narrative describes Sylvia & # 8217 ; s experiences within the mystical and ask foring forests of New England. I think a cardinal subject in & # 8220 ; A White Heron & # 8221 ; is the dramatisation of the clang between two viing sets of values in late nineteenth-century America: industrial and rural. Sylvia is the chief character of the narrative. We can follow her through the narrative to assist us see many industrial and rural differences. Inevitably, I believe that we are encouraged to prefer Sylvia & # 8217 ; s rural environment and values over the industrial 1s.

Our first debut to these viing sets of values Begins when we meet Sylvia. She is a immature miss from a crowded fabrication town who has late come to remain with her grandma on a farm. We see Sylvia & # 8217 ; s move from the industrial universe to a rural one as a good alteration for the miss, particularly from the transition, & # 8220 ; Everybody said that it was a good alteration for a small amah who had tried to turn for eight old ages in a crowded fabrication town, but, as for Sylvia herself, it seemed as if she ne’er had been alive at the all before she came to populate at the farm & # 8221 ; ( 133 ) . The new values that are cardinal to Sylvia & # 8217 ; s feelings of life are her chances to dramas games with the cow. Most visibly, Sylvia becomes so alive in the rural universe that she begins to believe pityingly about her neighbour & # 8217 ; s geraniums ( 133 ) . We begin to see that Sylvia values are strikingly different from the industrial and mercenary impressions of commanding nature. Additionally, Sylvia is alive in nature because she learns to esteem the natural forces of this land. Indeed, this new value is really different than the industrial position of other characters, peculiarly the huntsman.

Another illustration of the clang between industrial and rural values comes from Sylvia & # 8217 ; s ain memories and remembrances. Sylvia has been on the farm for a twelvemonth now, but she still thinks about her industrial being from a twelvemonth ago. She wonders if everything is still transporting on in the same manner as when she lived in the town. Sylvia recalls her adolescent antagonist: the great-red faced male child. I think the great-red faced male child represents the industrial universe to some grade because he frightens Sylvia, and when she thinks of him she wants to get away to the safety of the shrubs. Therefore, the rural universe and nature are a sanctuary from the industrial universe for Sylvia. Possibly this flight parallels Sylvia & # 8217 ; s existent flight from the industrial universe to the sanctuary of the farm. I think Jewett supports this by composing & # 8220 ; The idea of the great-red face male child who used to trail and scare her made her haste along the way to get away from the shadows of the trees & # 8221 ; ( 133 ) . Again, it is of import to see the forests as a shelter for Sylvia. I do non believe that Sylvia is afraid of the trees. Rather, I think this transition seems to reenforce the thought that Sylvia is get awaying from the industrial universe, in her memories and in her values.

Yet, at this point in the narrative, I still perceive Sylvia as a fearful and timid miss. Mrs. Tilley, Sylvia & # 8217 ; s grandma, supports this perceptual experience by stating that Sylvia is & # 8220 ; Afraid of folks & # 8221 ; ( 133 ) . Additionally, this transition seems to demo us that Sylvia is confined by late 19th & # 8211 ; century impressions of female exposure, modestness, and passiveness. However, on the farm Sylvia is now free to research and roll about out-of-doorss. As a consequence of her life in the farm, we can see many illustrations of Sylvia & # 8217 ; s gradual flight from the restraints of the industrial universe & # 8217 ; s value system.

Furthermore, we begin to accept Sylvia as a echt & # 8220 ; small woods-girl & # 8220 ; ( 133 ) . Sylvia wants to protect the natural universe and its values, repose, and animate beings against the industrial foreigners. The presence of the huntsman symbolizes the industrial foreigner because his presence creates an interesting struggle between Sylvia & # 8217 ; s trueness between nature and her desires for love and money. Still, to assist us understand Sylvia & # 8217 ; s conflicting emotions, we must farther appreciate the differences between the industrial and rural universe. This is achieved by the quality of the industrial and rural universe & # 8217 ; s descriptions. Upon reading about the rural farm, we learn that the air is & # 8220 ; soft and sweet & # 8221 ; while the industrial town is described as & # 8220 ; noisy & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; crowded & # 8221 ; ( 133 ) . We besides get to see more clangs between the industrial and rural universe when we read about the description of the huntsman & # 8217 ; s whistling as & # 8220 ; determined and slightly aggressive & # 8221 ; ( 133 ) . I believe this whistling is symbolic it is unlike a friendly bird & # 8217 ; s whistling, and by offering us the differences between the two whistlings, we learn that the natural universe entreaties more to Sylvia & # 8217 ; s emotions and sensitivenesss than the industrial one and its manufactured devices.

While Sylvia may see the bird & # 8217 ; s whistling as unfriendly and an invasion of her natural universe, she besides seems intimidated by the huntsman. His values represent a scientific and emotionally degage universe. His aspiration for roll uping and continuing birds threatens Sylvia as the undermentioned transition summarizes by saying, & # 8220 ; Alas, if the great moving ridge of human involvement which flooded for the first clip this dull small life should brush away the satisfactions of an being bosom to bosom with nature and the dense life of the forest & # 8221 ; ( 136 ) . The presence of the huntsman indicates that his industrial universe is acute on roll uping and developing wild forces, peculiarly the Hero. The huntsman & # 8217 ; s universe seems inconsiderate of nature and his universe becomes a paradox because its industrial values seem to kill the things it proposes to love.

An effectual illustration of this paradox occurs when the huntsman offers Sylvia $ 10 in exchange for turn uping his following hunting award, the white Hero. The hu

nter treasures the Hero, but he places a pecuniary value on it ( 138 ) . I think this transition make the huntsman appear greedy and selfish. These are two properties that I can correlate with the industrial universe. Nevertheless, Sylvia wonders about the money. She is hapless, and she dreams about the hoarded wealths $ 10 will convey her. The following twenty-four hours she travels with huntsman to seek for the birds ; yet, she can’t understand why her new friend would kill the really thing he proclaims to love and look up to so much. Again, I think the huntsman symbolizes the great distance between rural and industrial values. His value system is from a universe that is so far removed from holding compassion for nature, that he ne’er inquiries the struggle and sarcasm of his actions. Jewett describes this struggle and provinces:

Sylvia would hold liked him immensely better without his gun ; she could non understand why he killed the really birds he seemed to wish so much. But as the twenty-four hours waned, Sylvia still watched the immature adult male with loving esteem. She had ne’er seen anybody so charming and delicious ; the adult female & # 8217 ; s bosom, asleep in the kid, was mistily thrilled by a dream of love. ( 136 )

Although the huntsman is a contradictory figure, Sylvia has the demand and want to be loved by this adult male and makes the determination to assist him prosecute the white Hero. Yet, if she chooses to assist this immature huntsman win his award so she will be traveling along with industrial society & # 8217 ; s norms for a immature lady, and lose her ain individuality. Subsequently, we realize that in order to turn up this bird, she has to mount the tallest tree about, a effort in itself. The ascent up the monolithic tree is unquestionably the turning point for Sylvia ; she becomes closer to nature and experience its being all around her. Therefore, we can see that Sylvia is developing a new and obstinate resoluteness. She seems to welcome this alteration in her values. She treasures it.

Furthermore, the brushs between Sylvia and the huntsman help us sympathize with her fright of the industrial universe. To accomplish this empathy, the storyteller refers to this adult male as the enemy and provinces that the & # 8220 ; immature misss dare non to look boldly at the adult male & # 8221 ; ( 133 ) . This is an effectual transition and the tone here is representative of female repression and restraint at the bend of the century. So I think this can supply textual support for the industrial universe & # 8217 ; s gender inequality during the bend of the century. My premise here is that Sylvia & # 8217 ; s fright of the adult male is a erudite trait from her behaviour and value system in the fabrication town. The transition about her fright of the & # 8220 ; great crimson male child & # 8221 ; can back up this premise ( 133 ) . Additionally, another illustration of this industrial and societal repression is the grandma & # 8217 ; s comment about her boy & # 8217 ; s ability to roll off and research the universe. She expresses that if she could hold, she would hold done it excessively ( 134 ) . Therefore, the grandma acknowledges the female repression of the industrial universe. Although she no longer lives in that society, she still seems to be constrained by it, but non Sylvia. I think the grandma is still restrained by the industrial universe & # 8217 ; s values and outlooks, but I think Sylvia is immature plenty to follow the dictates of her thoughts, values, and non those of the industrial universe.

Therefore, when Sylvia eventually casts her eyes upon the white Hero, something indoors Sylvia alterations. This is the manifestation of her new value system. She has moved off from the industrial values and begins to prefer the values of nature over the industrial 1s of money and the accretion of wealth, power, and prized animate beings.

We can see Sylvia & # 8217 ; s new position in a few of import ways. First, we feel that Sylvia can see herself in the white Hero. Second, she understands it now. She watches the sea and greets the Sun at the same clip as the Hero. From this shared experience, Sylvia seems to be doing a connexion to the white Hero and the forests. So, we can admit that Sylvia has become more concerned about the natural universe instead than the industrial 1. I think the transition that most adequately describes this minute comes near the terminal of the narrative:

No, she must maintain silence! What is it that all of a sudden forbids her and makes her dense? Has she bee nine old ages turning and now, when the great universe for the first clip outs out a manus to her, must she thrust is aside for a bird & # 8217 ; s sake? The mutter of the pine tree & # 8217 ; s subdivisions in her ears, she remembers how the white Hero came winging through the aureate air and how they watched the sea and the forenoon together, and Sylvia can non talk ; she can non state the Hero & # 8217 ; s secret and given its life off. ( 138 )

Sylvia knows that if she divulges the white Hero & # 8217 ; s location to the huntsman, she will non merely destruct the bird & # 8217 ; s spirit but her ain every bit good. This power she now has is something that will soothe her because now she is entirely ; she is entirely with nature. And as one must hold an individuality to last in nature, Sylvia must salvage her ain individuality and appreciate her new values in order to last.

By showing the viing sets of industrial and rural values, Jewett & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; A White Heron & # 8221 ; gives us a rich and textured narrative that privileges nature over industry. I think the significance of this narrative is that it gives us an pressing and emphasized position about nature and the dangers that industrial values and society can put upon it and the people who live in it. Still, we are led to experience much like Sylvia. I think we are encouraged to protect nature, care for our new values and freedoms, and defy the enticements of other influences that can allure us to destruct and oppugn the importance of the empyreal gifts that populating in a rural universe can confer upon us.


Work Cited

Jewett, Sarah Orne. & # 8220 ; A White Heron. & # 8221 ; The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. 131-139.

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