The Cow In Jewett's Short Story 'A White Heron'

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Mrs. Tilley, or the Cow
In the short story “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett there is a blurring of the lines between animals and the human characters Sylvia and Mrs. Tilley. The animals are not just simply animals in the story because they are often shown to mirror people's personalities and show similar characteristics. The author does this to represent the relationships between animals and people. When a man suddenly presents himself he becomes a threat to them because he intends to kill a rare bird, native to these woods, for his own personal enjoyment. He is a threat to them because he is not only attempting to harm an animal but the things they represent. Jewett uses the cow in the story to represent and further emphasize Sylvia's relationship with nature and her grandmother.
The author defines Sylvia relationship with nature as the most important part of this story by immediately introducing the relationship between Sylvia and the cow. Jewett first shows Sylvia personality by the way she interacts with the her cow , “Sylvia had only laughed when she came upon Mistress Moolly at the swamp-side, and urged her affectionately homeward with a twig of birch
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Tilley’s lack of knowledge of the world due to being a domestic housewife all her life. It is almost as if to say that she is no better than the old cow. Sylvia, however, is the only one who gets a true sense of all that is going on while the cow and her grandmother who can’t distinguish an enemy from a friend to be able to save themselves. Sylvia role in all of this is necessary because she has developed relationships with nature and can understand and therefore protect them. Sylvia and her grandmother behaving similarly to animals indicates that they are like animals as much as the animals are like them. So, if the young man is a threat to the animals, then he must be a threat to her and
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