A White Heron Questions and Answers
by Sarah Orne Jewett

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How is Sarah Orne Jewett's "The White Heron" an example of local color realism?

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Jewett's story is a great example of "local color," a term that refers to literary fiction primarily about a specific place or region. The story exemplifies this is several ways.

Setting:

The story is set in rural New England, close to the coast. While the exact location is never explained, the woods and marshes around Sylvy's house serve as a kind of character in their own right. The opening of the story, in which Sylvy goes looking for a wayward cow, is given primarily to description of this place—which has transformed Sylvy, who had lived before in a town. The narrator writes that it seemed she "never had been alive at all" before she came to the farm.

Characters:

Sylvy and her grandmother live lives that are formed by this remote setting. Their rustic cabin and Sylvia's life among the creatures of the forest almost suggest something out of a fairy tale. The bird hunter, as a representative of the outside world, throws their quaint ways into relief. It is also characteristic of local...

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