A White Heron
A story that explores the conflict between nature and civilization through the relationship between Sylvia, a young girl living in rural New England, and a young man who comes to her town looking for a rare white heron
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Slide1“A White Heron”
Slide2Plot• Exposition • Rising Action-----Conflict • Climax • Falling Action • Resolution Theme?
Slide3Theme• “A White Heron” sets up a conflict between nature and civilization through the relationship between Sylvia and the young man • In this story, nature and civilization are ambiguous categories, mutually interdependent Tone & Mood?
Slide4Tone vs. Mood
Slide5Point of view• Third Person -- Omniscient or Limited Omniscient?
Slide6The color white• "Sylvia's face was like a pale star, if one had seen it from the ground, when the last thorny bough was past, and she stood trembling and tired...” • “…he watched Sylvia's pale face” • If the creature had not given good milk and plenty of it, • She was quite ready to be milked now • The cow was a good milker
Slide7•There was an open place where the sunshine always seemed strangely yellow and hot, where tall, nodding rushes grew, and her grandmother had warned her that she might sink in the soft black mud underneath and never be heard of more. Not far beyond were the salt marshes just this side the sea itself, which Sylvia wondered and dreamed much about, but never had seen, whose great voice could sometimes be heard above the noise of the woods on stormy nights.
Slide8Geranium• “Everybody said that it was a good change for a little maid who had tried to grow for eight years in a crowded manufacturing town, but, as for Sylvia herself, it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm. She thought often with wistful compassion of a wretched geranium that belonged to a town neighbor.” • stands out in the city setting, but belongs in a rural setting symbolizes Sylvia, who belongs in nature. It also represents the suffocating nature of the city in comparison to the farm.
Slide9Sylvia• Latin sylva =forest • Raised 8 yrs in “crowded manufacturing town”: “it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm” with her grandmother ( ¶2) • Quiet, “Afraid of folks” ( ¶3) • She knows the land, the birds, the squirrels, etc.; she tames and feeds them ( ¶16) • "There ain't a foot o' ground she don't know her way over" • “this little woods-girl”
Slide10Mistress Moolly• Her greatest pleasure to hide herself away • Has discovered how to stand perfectly still so as not to ring her bell • Gives plenty of good milk • A valued companion
Slide11Mrs. Tilley• “made the unlikely choice of Sylvia from her daughter’s houseful of children” to bring back to the farm • A hostess “whose long slumbering hospitality seemed to be easily awakened” • She is gracious • “the old woman’s quaint talk” • “the hostess gossiped frankly” • Uses LOCAL COLOR dialect • “I’d ha’ seen the world myself if it had been so I could” -- but she cannot because she’s a WOMAN
Slide12Stranger• “The enemy had discovered her…” • “All day long he did not make her troubled or afraid except when he brought down some unsuspecting singing creature from its bough. Sylvia would have liked him vastly better without his gun; she could not understand why he killed the very birds he seemed to like so much.”
Slide13The pine• "The way was harder than she thought; she must reach far and hold fast, the sharp twigs caught and held her and scratched her like angry talons, the pitch made her thin little fingers clumsy and stiff..." • Sylvia see a "vast and awesome world“ • "wonderful sight and pageant of the world" • "a giddy height“ • "trembling and tired but wholly triumphant, high in the treetop"
Slide14The Gun …the jack knife
Slide15What literary device is used?• "The tree seemed to lengthen itself out,“ • "The old pine must have loved his new dependent," • "it must truly have been amazed that morning"