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In "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett, give an example of each major method...

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casedaace | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 29, 2008 at 4:48 AM via web

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In "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett, give an example of each major method of characterization.

There are four major methods of characterization - what the author tells you, what the character does, what the character says, and what another character says about him or her

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 30, 2008 at 7:14 AM (Answer #1)

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The author tells us much about Sylvia's character, beginning on the first page of the story, saying "as for Sylvia herself, it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm". Later on she reveals that "the woman's heart, asleep in the child, was vagely thrilled by a dream of love".

In an example of another character giving us information about the child, Mrs. Tilley observes, "'Afraid of folks'", and later adds, "'Sylvia takes after (my son)...there ain't a foot o' ground she don't know her way over and the wild creatur's counts her one o' themselves'".

Sylvia herself says very little, but her manner of speaking and the few words she does say give us further insight into her shy, gentle, and sensitive nature.  She "whispers" that the farm "was a beautiful place to live in, and she never should wish to go home", and when asked her name by the stranger manages "with much effort" to answer simply, "'Sylvy'".

Sylvia shows what is important to her by not speaking and betraying her beloved bird, effectively developing her own character further by what she doesn't say - "she remembers how the white heron came flying through the golden air and how they watched the sea and the morning together, and Sylvia cannot speak; she cannot tell the heron's secret and give its life away".

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