What is the relationship between human and nature in the story "The White Heron?"

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a clear bond between humans and nature symbolized by Sylvia herself. Sylvia is drawn to the hunter and is keen to help him, however, it is her knowledge and understanding of the birds that he wishes to capitalize on. When Sylvia climbs the old pine tree in search of the white heron’s nest, both the tree and the birds conspire to trap and inhibit her progress, reminding her that nature, rather than the stranger, offers her security and happiness.

The human world is represented by the hunter. He offers money and tools (his jack-knife) to win over Sylvia, but he is a killer. He preserves nature by destroying it. Sylvia interacts with nature, resembling the ‘gray’ birds around her with her ‘gray’ eyes. She is young and not ready for the world of human relationships - she remains a child of nature.