Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Images of mud, frost, and snow, of stony and sodden fields, foreshadow and symbolize the condition of the Brays; the indifference of the town to its aged and disabled; and the callousness and greed of Mrs. Janes, with whom the Brays live. These images, along with those images of isolation and decay, parallel the aging, the isolation, and the dependence of the Brays. In turn, each symbolizes the decay of the New England region.

A pattern of contrasts between characters—Mrs. Trimble and Miss Wright, Ann and Mandana—between the two sets of women, is an important part of the story’s style and structure. Moreover, the speech patterns are correlated with the class and condition of each character; the Brays, who are the poorest, use speech that is the most regional and most obviously different from the speech of the other characters.

The Town Poor Bibliography

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Blanchard, Paula. Sarah Orne Jewett: Her World and Her Work. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1994.

Cary, Richard. Sarah Orne Jewett. New York: Twayne, 1962.

Cary, Richard, ed. Appreciation of Sarah Orne Jewett: Twenty-nine Interpretive Essays. Waterville, Maine: Colby College Press, 1973.

Church, Joseph. Transcendent Daughters in Jewett’s “Country of the Pointed Firs.” Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1994.

Donovan, Josephine. Sarah Orne Jewett. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1980.

Howard, June, ed. New Essays on “The Country of the Pointed Firs.” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Matthiessen, F. O. Sarah Orne Jewett. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1929.

Morgan, Jeff. Sarah Orne Jewett’s Feminine Pastoral Vision: “The Country of the Pointed Firs.” Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002.

Nagel, Gwen L., ed. Critical Essays on Sarah Orne Jewett. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1984.

Nagel, Gwen L., and James Nagel. Sarah Orne Jewett: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1978.

Renza, Louis. “A White Heron” and the Question of Minor Literature. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984.

Roman, Margaret. Sarah Orne Jewett: Reconstructing Gender. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1992.

Sherman, Sarah Way. Sarah Orne Jewett: An American Persephone. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1989.

Silverthorne, Elizabeth. Sarah Orne Jewett: A Writer’s Life. Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Press, 1993.