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What is the relationship between humans and nature in "A White Heron?"

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hater-2008 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 15, 2008 at 12:13 PM via web

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What is the relationship between humans and nature in "A White Heron?"

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 16, 2008 at 12:36 AM (Answer #1)

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Two relationships between human and nature are shown in "A White Heron." Sylvia has a very close connection to the nature and, in the end, sees her job as protecting it. The is why she does not show the hunter where the white heron lives. In fact, Sylvia's name may come from the Latin word for "woods". As her grandmother says, ‘‘There ain’t a foot o’ ground she don’t know her way over.’’ The hunter, on the other hand, sees nature as a place to exploit. He simply wants the white heron as another piece of his collection. The fact that he does not have a name indicates that he represents all humans who want to take advantage of nature instead of enjoying it for its beauty. Before he is even seen in the story, he is heard ‘‘whistling in a 'determined, and somewhat aggressive' manner". He carries a sack full of dead birds and thinks that money can buy him a piece of nature ( the white heron). Intuitively, Sylvia senses this and refuses his offer of money in return for the betraying nature and letting the hunter know where he can find the next bird for his sack.

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