In short story,"A White Heron" , how does the story relate to Jewett's childhood?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sarah Orne Jewett was diagnosed at a young age with arthritis.  As a treatment, she was encouraged to take long walks. It was during these walks that she became so enamored with nature.  Her love for nature can be seen in her short stories, especially in "The White Heron."

In this short story, Sylvia, a nine year-old, has gone to live with her grandmother in the country.  She is a child of nature, aware of what goes on with the animals around her, and she finds great comfort and joy in the time she spends in the outdoors.

One day an ornithologist appears and, offering money to Sylvia (which they could really use in her house), tries to get the child to give up the location of the white heron that lives nearby.  He intends to kill it and put it on display in his home.

Sylvia's love of nature, which reflects Jewett's own sentiments, wins out in her internal struggle between protecting the bird or taking the money.  She refuses the money and refuses to give up the location of the heron's secreted nest.

Read the study guide:
A White Heron

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