Sylvia’s changing relationship with nature is one primary theme of “A White Heron.” As a former city girl, she comes to know the natural world in increasingly intimate, nuanced ways. Confronting the threat to that world, which the hunter’s mercenary attitude represents, is the most important development in her character as she quickly matures through their interaction.
As the story opens, Sylvia is relishing her new-found vitality in the idyllic rural setting. Sylvia feels that "she never had been alive at all before” and even enjoys having farm animals as friends.
When Sylvie meets the stranger, she initially feels a bond with him. Knowing about the heron, she wants to expand her knowledge and share it with him. As she learns more about his intentions, however, her true loyalties are developed. She comes to understand the importance of stewardship, as she can play a role in protecting nature rather than just enjoying it. The hunter represents a threat not only to the heron...
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