What can we learn about human existence in "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett?

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From this story, we can learn that some human beings thrive more completely in a natural setting than they do in an urban one; others are driven to possess nature's beauty and, in their attempt, deprive it of its beauty as well as harm those who can appreciate it without...

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From this story, we can learn that some human beings thrive more completely in a natural setting than they do in an urban one; others are driven to possess nature's beauty and, in their attempt, deprive it of its beauty as well as harm those who can appreciate it without owning it. Sylvia could not thrive in the city, and, when she came to the farm, it seemed as if she "never had been alive at all" before. Likewise, it seems that Mrs. Tilley's son, Dan, who had tamed a crow when he was a boy, was the same kind of person as Sylvia. However, when faced with the hunter from the city, Sylvia thinks of him as an "enemy" at first, and her head hangs "as if the stem of it were broken" when he follows her home. His desire to tame nature, to kill it and own it for himself, is precisely the kind of impulse that makes Sylvia's first impression of him correct. Instead of enjoying and embracing nature, as Sylvia does and Dan did, the hunter wants to have it. He is almost successful in getting Sylvia to tell him where the heron lives when he offers her money, more money than she's ever had, but she cannot bring herself to "give [the heron's] life away." In the end, she protects both herself and the heron because she, a child, recognizes nature's value better than the young man does. She understands the urgency of the need to preserve it. Often, children are smarter than adults because their innocence and candor allows them to perceive what is most important.

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