A White Heron Questions and Answers
by Sarah Orne Jewett

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How does she fit with the forest creatures in "The White Heron"?

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The animals of the forest seem not to feel threatened or alarmed by Sylvia's presence at all. Even though she is typically not in the forest so late as she is at the story's beginning, the animals are "stirring in the great boughs" over her head, and they seem to be "saying good-night to each other in sleepy twitters"; Sylvia feels sleepy as well. She feels as though she is "a part of the gray shadows and the moving leaves" in the forest. It is like she is just one of the animals that lives there, feeling what they feel and moving around as they do.

The narrator calls her a "little woods-girl," and she is frightened, like a timid creature would be, by the sound of the hunter's whistle. She attempts to hide in the bushes as another forest animal might. Sylvia's grandmother tells the hunter that Sylvia knows her way all over the entire forest and that "the wild creaturs counts her one o' themselves." Even Sylvia's grandmother has observed the Sylvia fits right in with the forest animals.

She reports that Sylvia can tame the squirrels and that the birds will come to her and eat right out of her hand. Sylvia even tends to give her food to the birds, choosing to feed them rather than herself. She even knows where the white heron the hunter seeks lives, or at least, she has a really good idea because she has seen it around in her wanderings.

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