Topics for Further Study
The bird Jewett was thinking of when she wrote this story is more frequently called the snowy egret. Research the natural history of the snowy egret, especially its status at the beginning of the twentieth century, to see why Jewett was so concerned about this bird. Describe the reaction informed citizens of the 1890s might have had to the ornithologist’s plan. What animals might be used in stories today to achieve a similar effect?
Read an article or essay in a recent issue of a nature or conservation magazine (for example, Audubon, National Wildlife or Sierra). Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of using fiction and nonfiction to argue for environmental protection.
Visit a natural history museum, or another museum with a collection of ‘‘preserved and stuffed’’ animal specimens. Discuss with the curator or a guide the value of such collections. Report on what you learn.
Research marriage in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century, focusing on the differing rights and responsibilities of husbands and wives. Compare your findings to the implications Jewett makes about marriage.