Sarah Orne Jewett House

A White Heron (1886)

“A White Heron” captures at once the essence of transcendentalism – connectedness to nature and nature as metaphor, self-reliance, and intuition – and the strong female character, this time not embodied by a wise or determined woman, but by a nine-year-old girl, Sylvia. Here, destruction of the pure and the wild is at stake and comes in the form of a zealous hunter – a man who kills what he loves. Whether to betray the “little white heron,” for comfort and for male approbation, Sylvia, her face “like a pale star,” surprises herself with her intuitive answer.