Juxtaposition In A White Heron

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In Sarah Orne Jewett’s piece, “A White Heron”, tension is continuously built to give a sense of meaning to a young girl’s climb. Her success hinges on her ability to come to and understanding with the wise old tree, so the evolution of their relationship is dramaticized. Even at the start of the piece, the tree’s presence is felt. The author uses personification and polysyndeton to give it qualities similar to an old, wise, tired grandfather who has just encountered something that he’s never seen before. It has outlived the whole forest of “pines and oaks and maples”. As a weary, old tree, it’s “asleep… in the paling moonlight” until the girl starts climbing. When she does, all of the tree’s inhabitants wake up and run away. The “bird flutter[s] …show more content…

The writer uses juxtaposition to show how much of a tremendous age difference there is between the tree and the girl. It’s mentioned several times how she is only “small and silly” while the tree is “the last of its generation”. Due to the tremendous gap between them, they don’t understand each other at first, which leads to many obstacles that they must overcome. The struggles are often portrayed with imagery to give them a tangible threat; the old, grandfatherly pine has “sharp, dry twigs” and obstacles such as “green leaves that [are] heavy and wet with dew”. The journey is also described with similes to illustrating how the young girl imagines her situation to be; near the beginning, the tree’s branches “scratch her like angry talons”. However, as the tree wakes up and notices her, it “lengthens itself out as she went up”, and it becomes “like a great main-mast to the voyaging earth”. The tree never intends to hurt her. Instead, it’s curious as to what she will do and wants to watch her. Eventually, the tree comes to love “his new dependent”. When she finally completes her climb, her face is “like a pale star”; only through both the tree’s and her efforts combined was she able to complete her

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