A White Heron Thesis

A White Heron Thesis-69
"There ain't a foot o' ground she don't know her way over," her grandmother says, "and the wild creatures counts her one o' themselves.Squer'ls she'll tame to come an' feed right out o' her hands, and all sorts o' birds" (9).Sylvia's heart beats wildly, for not only would the ten dollars buy "many wished-for treasures," but she has herself seen the same white heron.

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Sometimes this victory is accompanied by a mystical vision that shows the hero something of the life-creating energy of all existence (40-1).

The third part of the hero's story is the "Return." Because of his victory, he now has a "boon" to bestow upon those he has left behind (30).

The way is "harder than she thought; she must reach far and hold fast, the sharp dry twigs caught and held her and scratched her like angry talons, the pitch made her thin little fingers clumsy and stiff" (16-17).

But the tree itself now awakens to act as her supernatural guardian.

At this point, Jewett tells us that a "great pine tree, . This tree, we come to learn, has magical properties.

Sylvia has often thought that from the top of this tree one could see the sea, something she dreams of doing. Not only could one see "all the world" from its top but the white heron's "hidden nest" as well (14).

Since then, it has become her most anthologized and best known story (Cary 101).

I feel that the key to both the Atlantic's puzzlement and the story's wide appeal is its handling of the hero archetype.

The next morning, the "Initiation" part of Campbell's archetype begins.

She steals out of her house before daybreak and goes to the tree, "the monstrous ladder reaching up, up, almost to the sky itself" (16).


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