What is the resolution to "A White Heron"?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The resolution of “A White Heron” is that Sylvia decides not to tell the hunter about the bird, therefore protecting the bird but sacrificing her future happiness.

Sylvia is a little girl who enjoys spending time alone in nature.  She is frightened of people and prefers the company of animals.  When she comes upon the hunter, she is also afraid of him at first.  She takes him home and her grandmother tells him that she knows a lot about nature.

Sylvia starts to like the hunter, and she agrees to show him around.  She does not like the fact that he is killing the birds.  Therefore she is torn. She has adult feelings for him, but also worries about the bird.

Has she been nine years growing and now, when the great world for the first time puts out a hand to her, must she thrust it aside for a bird's sake?

When Sylvia finds the white heron, she decides not to tell him.  It is not an easy decision, because she realizes that this was her one chance to choose mankind over nature.

Sylvia cannot speak; she cannot tell the heron's secret and give its life away. 

She is disappointed, and she realizes it will put their budding relationship to an end before it begins.  She has chosen nature over humans, and she has decided to be true to herself rather than change for someone else.