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.


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.


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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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 26, 2019