Analysis Of Sarah Orne Jewett's A White Heron

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Looking through the literature book’s authors, I realized that a good portion of the authors included are female despite the time frame for the selections, the late 19th and early to mid-20th century, which was known for a different view on the capabilities and status quo of women from today’s. Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story A White Heron, follows a young girl who is torn between the decision to save a rare bird or make some money and please a new companion. In the story, the girl meets a hunter who is looking for a rare bird called white heron to add to his collection of birds he has killed, and he is willing to offer a money prize if she can tell him where one is. She goes on a journey to find the bird in which she climbs the tallest tree…show more content…
John believes that his wife needs to get better from a nervous condition, so he takes her out to a country house to recover. He is often condescending to her and her needs, and whenever he does talk to her it is usually about his own problems. Furthermore, he does not permit her to do anything that involves work or creativity not even to write. The narrator writes in a secret diary as to provide any form of freedom and creativity that she desires as a human. John eventually finds the diary and destroys it, and John confines the narrator to a room with a yellow wallpaper that the narrator despises. The yellow wallpaper could be symbolic to the narrator because it resembles bars that confine her from social interaction and free thinking. Eventually this drives the narrator mad beyond repair and the story ends there. A major theme of this story is how culture at the time restricted women’s free thinking and acting capabilities to a point where they are just meant for a few purposes. Women were commonly suppressed during this time almost as if they were obedient children. This can be seen in another example in the story with John’s sister, who despite seeing that the narrator’s condition wasn’t getting better from the treatment being given, still chose to be obedient to
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