What conflict does Sylvia face in "A White Heron"?

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Sylvia faces an internal conflict of the character vs. self variety. When the hunter offers her ten dollars in order to reveal to him the location of the heron's nest, she cannot help but be tempted by it.

No amount of thought, that night, could decide how many wished-for treasures the ten dollars, so lightly spoken of, would buy.

Not only is Sylvia tempted by the thought of all the treasures one might buy with the ten dollar reward, but she is beginning to think differently of the young man who first frightened her. Now, she thinks he's a "friendly lad" who is proving "to be most kind and sympathetic." He tells her lots of things about the animals she loves, and he even makes her a gift of a jack-knife that she thinks of as a great treasure. She no longer fears him, except when he shoots a bird, and she begins to see him with a kind of "loving admiration. She had never seen anybody so charming and delightful [...]." In her desire to please the hunter, she considers the tall tree on the wood's edge, thinking,

[...] why, if one climbed it at break of day, could not one see all the world, and easily discover from whence the white heron flew, and mark the place, and find the hidden nest?

So she climbs the tree the next morning, watching hawks and feeling "as if she too could go flying away among the clouds." Sylvia spots the heron too, silent as she watches him perch and call back to his mate in the nest. "She knows his secret now [...]," and she wonders, with some excitement, what her hunter will say when she tells him where the heron lives. However, when the moment comes, she cannot speak.

He can make them rich with money; he has promised it, and they are poor now. He is so worth making happy, and he waits to hear the story she can tell. No, she must keep silence! What is it that suddenly forbids her and makes her dumb? 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? [...] [S]he remembers how the white heron came flying through the golden air and how they watched the sea and the morning together, and Sylvia cannot speak; she cannot tell the heron's secret and give its life away.

On one hand, she would tell the hunter where the heron lives because she wants to make him happy as well as relieve her poverty; on the other hand, she doesn't want to tell the heron's secret because she wants to protect it. She is torn, momentarily, between these two conflicting desires before she, ultimately, decides that she cannot betray the heron; she knows telling its secret will mean certain death for the beautiful bird with whom she feels a kind of kindred connection.

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Sylvia's conflict is that she is fascinated by the 'stranger' who comes to their property but she is also loyal to the creatures which are part of her world.

The traveller tells of collecting birds, and her grandmother highlights Sylvia's ability with the animals. Sylvia is intrigued by the hunter, though becomes upset when she sees the birds he has shot.

He offers ten dollars for the location of the nest of the white heron. This money would be a great benefit to her family, and Sylvia is at first drawn to help him. She is flattered when he gives her his jack-knife as a gift-

the woman's heart, asleep in the child was vaguely thrilled by a dream of love.

However, when Sylvia climbs the great pine tree to locate the heron's nest, the powers of nature draw her back and remind her of her alliance to them. She chooses not to reveal the location of the nest, remaining a

lonely country child.

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What is the main conflict that Sylvia feels about the stranger in "A White Heron"?

Sylvia comes to enjoy the company of the pleasant hunter/ornithologist she meets on the path home, but she also loves the nature he seems determined to possess.

When he offers her ten dollars to lead him to the elusive white heron, Sylvia's conflict comes to a head. Not only does she like and want to please the hunter, $10 is a great deal of money to her poor family. The story was written in 1886, and running that amount through an inflation calculator indicates that he was offering her $276 in today's money, income she and her grandmother could badly use. On the other hand, she knows the man will shoot, kill, and stuff the white heron for his collection if she betrays the bird's whereabouts to him.

So young Sylvia is caught on the horns of a dilemma: help out the friendly man as well as her grandmother, or protect the beautiful and beloved bird. It would be practical to sacrifice the bird to her own needs, but this Sylvia, a child of nature, cannot do.

At first, she thinks she can do this, and so she goes out to seek the heron in the early morning. But once she climbs a tree and finds it, she cannot betray it. As the story recounts:

He [the hunter] can make them rich with money; he has promised it, and they are poor now. He is so well worth making happy, and he waits to hear the story she can tell.

No, she must keep silence! What is it that suddenly forbids her and makes her dumb? 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? ... Sylvia cannot speak; she cannot tell the heron's secret and give its life away.

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What is the main conflict that Sylvia feels about the stranger in "A White Heron"?

In Sarah Orne Jewett's "A White Heron," Sylvia wants to please the stranger, the young ornithologist who seeks the white heron; however, she is conflicted because she does not wish to harm this beautiful bird. Thus, the main conflict is Man (Humans) vs. Nature.

When Sylvia first spots the young man, she is frightened and hides from him, but he insists upon asking her name, so she replies, "Sylvy." He accompanies her home, hoping that her grandmother will allow him to stay overnight. Despite Sylvia's fears, the grandmother is warm and cordial to the young man, extending her hospitality. After supper, the young man declares that he is making a collection of birds:

There are two or three very rare ones I have been hunting for these five years. I mean to get them on my own ground if they can be found.

When Mrs. Tilley asks if he cages them, the ornithologist tells her that he stuffs and preserves them, and he adds that he is looking for the white heron of which he caught a glimpse three miles from there. "They have never been found in this area," he adds.

When Sylvia hears the man's declaration, her heart skips a beat because she knows that strange white bird, whose voice is often heard in the woods on stormy nights. Then, when the young man wants this bird so badly that he is willing to offer ten dollars for its capture, Sylvia is stirred. Gradually, too, she loses her fear of the young man, and she begins to feel that he is "most kind and sympathetic."

So enamored is Sylvia of this young man and desirous of his payment that she considers finding the heron's home and revealing its whereabouts to him. But, on the morning that she discovers the nest of the great white heron and his mate, Sylvia is in awe. She wonders what the young man will think when she tells him where to find the bird. So, she starts for home.

Seeing her approach, the grandmother calls to the shy girl. She urges Sylvia to talk, but Sylvia says nothing, despite her grandmother's rebukes. Even as the young man's "kind appealing eyes are looking straight in her own," Sylvia starts to reconsider her decision to protect the birds, thinking that he can make them rich with money; he is "worth making happy," and he waits to hear what she has to tell him. But, suddenly, Sylvia cannot speak: "...She cannot tell the heron's secret and give its life away." She leaves the young man puzzled and frustrated, and her grandmother rather exasperated.

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What is the main conflict that Sylvia feels about the stranger in "A White Heron"?

In the story, Sylvia is a shy girl who is growing up. When she meets the stranger, the hunter in the story, she is drawn to him and enjoys his company. Sylvia feels the stirrings of a first love. The hunter wants to find and kill the white heron for his collection. Because he thinks Sylvia can help him find the bird, he offers her ten dollars to show him the heron's nest. Sylvia wants to gain his approval, and she and her grandmother need the money, but her conflict develops once she does find the heron's nest.

After climbing the tall pine and viewing the beautiful world in which the heron lives, Sylvia sees the heron itself. Its beauty and grace speak to her soul. For a little while, she lives in the heron's world and is changed forever. After that, Sylvia cannot give up the heron. She chooses instead to endure her grandmother's displeasure and the hunter's frustration and disappointment.

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