Talk:A WHITE HERON
--Ammcbride 16:20, 3 September 2008 (EDT)The first time reading the story, I thought the story was about a girl that liked this boy whom she had just met, yet she decides not to tell him about where to find the heron because she feels bad to do that to the poor innocent heron. After reading the story for a second time, I got a whole new perspective on Sylvia.
Sylvia loves nature. From the opening paragraphs of the story, Sylvia is in the woods walking home with her cow. Jewett could have opened the book anyway she wanted, yet she chose to have Sylvia in the woods. The gives the reader a sense of Sylvia’s interests right from the start. The narrator tells the reader Sylvia and the cow "were familiar with the path" so it didn't matter if "their eyes could see it or not" (Jewett 84). Sylvia is constantly in the woods; moreover, to add to her love of nature, it seems Sylvia's best friend is a cow. Sylvia would play hide and seek with her cow. I don't know anyone that has a cow let alone plays hide and seek with it. This is more evidence that Sylvia loves nature.
As the story unwinds, Sylvia hears a whistle in the woods. The narrator goes on to note that it was "not a bird whistle, which would have a sort of friendliness" (Jewett 86). This whistle was one of "a boy...determined and somewhat aggressive" (Jewett 86). Even something as simple as a whistle has Sylvia up in arms about what she may be dealing with. The whistle was not a friendly one but an aggressive one. I don't look much into people's whistling; consequently, I found it strange that Sylvia noticed right away she wasn't dealing with someone friendly. I found the boy's whistle was foreshadowing his actions later on in the story. When talking with Mrs. Tilley, he tells her "but I am hungry...you can give me some milk" (Jewett 86). He just met her and already he is barking out orders when she didn't even ask him if he wanted anything. (Maybe I am overanalyzing the story to much, but in my house you don't ask for things. You wait until you are offered something.) In addition, the reader later learns that the boy "stuffed and preserved" (Jewett 88) countless birds. This can be seen as somewhat of a horror to Sylvia-the nature lover.
Sylvia's love for nature is made more relevant when she doesn't give any clue about knowing where to find a white heron to the boy even though the reader learns Sylvia "watched the young man with loving admiration...with her gray eyes dark with excitement" (Jewett 89). As I read the story, I thought Sylvia was beginning to like her new found bird killer friend, yet she didn't give into her feelings and tell the boy where to find the bird. Good for Sylvia because I'm positive I would have told the boy where to find the heron just because I liked him.
Anyway I found it interesting that the boy finds out from Mrs. Tilley "there ain't a foot 'o ground she don't know her way over, and the wild creatur's counts her one o' themselves" (Jewett 87)yet he doesn't pressure Sylvia in helping him shot a heron. WHY WAS THIS!!!!!!! Does anyone have any thoughts? The boy even offers the family money, yet Sylvia doesn't take advantage of it. The boy even notes at the end of the story "he was sure...the shy girl looked once or twice yesterday that she had at least seen the white heron" (Jewett 92). Why not pressure her more for information?
The ending was really interesting as well for two reasons. I particularly liked how when Sylvia was locating the heron nest at the end of the story, the trees began speaking to her as almost her conscious or even subconscious. The tree tells Sylvia to "look down again...where you saw the white heron once is where you will see him again" (Jewett 91). In addition, the trees tell Sylvia "do not move...a finger...for the heron has perched on a pine" (Jewett 91). The trees or Sylvia's consciousness are guiding her into not scaring the heron away which really interested me. At the end of the story, Jewett tells the reader "bring your gifts and graces and tell your secrets to this lonely country girl" (Jewett 92). The narrator urges nature to reward the girl for her unselfishness in regards for not giving up the secret of the white heron. Nature appreciates Sylvia for keeping the white heron safe; in return nature respects Sylvia even more.
Sylvia's love for nature is what kept her from revealing the secret of the white heron, but is that the only reason? Was nature really appreciative of Sylvia for what she did? Did anyone feel the story was totally about something different then a girl's love for nature?
--Deallison 18:19, 3 September 2008 (EDT) I have to, once more, agree with Amanda that Sylvia indeed loves nature. But, I do believe this is more than just a girl's love for nature. I think it dives deep in the connections of human and nature. For Sylvia... "it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm" (Jewett 85). The experience of nature and its impact upon humans is so profound and it can not be denied lest we stop living. That quote shows us that life did not start until Sylvia moved out into the wilderness. I also think that the hunter boy is a symbol for what the modern conception of the wilderness is; people should use it and take from it, without worrying so much as the outcome so long as it doesn't harm them in the process. The boy's view of the house is an example of this. He said, "It was a surprise to find so clean and comfortable a little dwelling in this New England wilderness" (Jewett 87). His profession of being an ornithologist is also a nice contrast; he likes to study birds, yet he also likes to hunt them down and kill them. (Check out this link for more info on what an ornithologist nowadays does:Wikipedia Ornithology) Does this perhaps reveal into the true nature of a human; is there a desire to have trophies of our 'triumph' over nature?
I would also like to point out Jewett's description of the pine tree in the second part. She writes "Half a mile from home, at the farther edge of the woods, where the land was highest, a great pine tree stood, the last of its generation... But the stately head of this old pine towered above them all and made a landmark for sea and shore miles and miles away" (Jewett 89). I feel that this is definitely a sentence of mixed emotions; the pine tree is the last of its kind, like much in nature in the current time. However, it quite literately is the tallest thing for miles around; it is a guidepost and is needed to help those who have lost their way return. I think this shows how indebted and tied to nature we are; nature will always be the winner at the end, no matter what humans do. Also, without it, we humans can't survive. We would be lost, with no guidepost or landmark to get home.
Another random tidbit: I thought it was interesting how Sylvia is constantly fluttering between the stages of a woman and a little girl. Jewett describes when Sylvia is near the boy that "...the woman's heart, asleep in the child, was vaguely thrilled by a dream of love" (Jewett 89). But then later when she's out looking for the heron "It was almost too real and too great for the childish heart to bear" (Jewett 90). Could this also be a story about the fluctuation of the human heart and that the innocent childish heart is the only time when we can feel that connection towards nature? I noticed that when she is acting more womanly, she tends to stray away from her love of nature, particularly when the promise of money came in (Jewett 88-89).
I know that not many of the class is probably interested in Japanese films but since I am an East Asian Studies minor, I did think of a film that really could possibly be a visual representation of this story, in a grandiose sense. The film, which was released in America by Disney, is Hayao Miyazaki's "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind". It centers around a young princess, named Nausicaa who also has an intense connection with nature in a rather magical way, somewhat like what I can imagine is happening with Sylvia. Set during a time when humans have caused the world to basically decay and produce the 'sea of decay' which is full of toxic plants and giant insects, the story has Nausicaa trying to help unify humans to work with nature and not against it. Her special bond is via a giant insect called an ohmu (paralleling Sylvia's attachment to the heron). She also has to deal with a young man trying to somewhat persuade her heart away, but she is firm and resolved in her ways. The movie is beautiful and really shows the connections between humans, nature, and gives us an insight into human interaction with things that are different from ourselves. Here is a wikipedia article about the movie if you'd like to read more Wikipedia Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and here's a youtube link to a trailer for the movie, it's unfortunately with Korean text so you won't be able to read everything but hopefully you'll able to appreciate the beauty of the story Youtube trailer for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
--Emsmith 20:41, 3 September 2008 (EDT) The first time reading this story, I kind of got from it that there was an unselfish girl connecting with nature. Further reading of the story shows that this girl, Sylvia, is in the stage of her life where she is beginning to shape herself. She is a lonely girl, living in the country with her grandmother, and the only other beings she has to interact with are animals. She takes care of a female cow, and is in touch with nature, because theres nothing else to do on a farm. Sylvia is surrounded by females, so it is a shock to her to come into contact with males. This frightened feeling first occurs when she used to live in the town and a "great red-faced boy used to chase and frighten her" (pg 86) then it occurs, more importantly, again in the woods. She comes into contact with a young man and is "horror-stricken". At first, one might think she is so shy and scared because she never talks to anyone other than her grandmother and cow, but through deeper investigation, she is a girl starting to go through puberty so she has confusing feelings about this stranger. When asked to find the heron, she is at first willing and excited to venture out with this new man only because he is a male, she feels "loving admiration" (pg 89) for him. But she does not agree with him killing animals, and will not help him find the heron because she much rather protect her nature than be involved with a boy. He does not pressure her for more information because he is a guest in their house and he probably would scare them, also he can't really pressure this young girl to do his work for him, its not really fair. I think by the end of the story, Sylvia is the white heron. She is peacefully connected with nature and a symbol of freedom, that is why Sylvia will not tell the man where the heron lives. The heron is hidden in a tree and lives a happy life, just as Sylvia lives in the country separated from the town where "it seemed as if she never had been alive at all before she came to live at the farm" (pg 85). Just as the heron she is happy being nestled in the country protected by nature. She feels this deep connection with nature and the heron that she just cannot disclose the whereabouts of the bird. One question I have about this story is does the author chose the heron to be animal that Sylvia connects and protects? It's a very unusual animal that many people aren't really acquainted with so why wouldn't the author chose an animal that more people could relate to?
--Emhummel 14:23, 4 September 2008 (EDT)In response to Emily's question, I think the author picked a white heron because it is such a rare animal that no on really relates to. Jewett opened up the story with the cow, which many people are familiar with, and I think that if the whole story was about a girl protecting a cow it'd just be like another version of Charlotte's Web, which we have all heard before. I think the fact that the heron is pretty rare made Sylvia's journey through the woods in the morning so much more significant to her and to the reader, especially when it says, "the white heron came flying through the golden air and how they watched the sea and the morning together, and Sylvia cannot speak; she cannot tell the heron's secret and give its life away," (92). She realized that this type of animal is so graceful and spends its life hidden from predators in a high tree, so when she finally sees it and gets to experience something with such a rare bird is pretty extraordinary. I think by experiencing the view with the heron, the girl realized that making the hunter happy for a few days would not justify letting something so beautiful simply be killed, stuffed, and added to the collection.
Also I agree with the Regionalism points by Fetterly, especially about how the writing is used to question American values and beliefs. I think Jewett does this very well by introducing the gunsman as someone who, although nice, seems to only care about himself and furthering his collection of stuffed birds. This reflects the way many Americans are about their possessions and things; most people are only thinking about themselves and do not even stop to think about how their actions could affect someone else. Of course this is a stereotypical view of Americans, and obviously not how everyone is, but by having the somewhat conceited male role, it shows how his values of competition and obtaining possessions aren't necessarily the best values to have. Having Sylvia keep the white heron's location a secret also shows that there are different ways to live and you don't always have to live to make someone else happy. I also think that by the little girl turning down the opportunity to make the gunsman happy demonstrated Fetterly's point about how previously accepted behaviors are shown in a less positive light, because if Sylvia wanted to she could have easily betrayed the heron like a young lady ought to have done many years ago.
After rereading the story I realized (like the rest of the class) that Sylvia was very in touch with nature from the very beginning, especially when it says, "as if she were a part of the gray shadows and the moving leaves," (84) on the second page. Clearly having that connection with nature at the beginning, Sylvia wasn't about to ruin the elegant heron's life just because some random guy is going to pay her for it. I also thought it was interesting how the cow, Mistress Moolly, hid herself from Sylvia at the beginning, and sort of played tricks on her since she knew that if she moved her bell would ring. This reminds me of the heron in that Sylvia had to find them both, hiding in the woods, but they both have reason to trust that they would be safe with her. I liked how Mistress Moolly, "was not inclined to wander farther," (85) because she does have such a deep trust in Sylvia.
http://portal.delaware.gov/photos/collections/wildlife/1984.shtml I like that picture because it shows what a striking, beautiful animal the heron is, and how connected it is with nature.
--Rjaroff 15:08, 4 September 2008 (EDT) Some great questions so far. Here is something from Wikipedia that might help explain Jewett's choice of the Heron: "In North America, large numbers of Great Egrets [also Herons] were killed around the end of the 19th century so that their plumes could be used to decorate hats." There was a lot of controversy about the killing of large exotic birds for such a frivolous thing and was in part how the SPCA got started. I think recognizing Sylvia's relationship to the red-faced boy, her "agency" in the woods, and her being on the verge of puberty are things to think more deeply about. Also, please read the hand out on REgionalism (I fixed the link) and look at some pictures of the Herons. Devon thanks for the trailer, we will look at in class tomorrow. Please keep adding to this site and making connections to other texts. And share your favorite Heron image or video
I think this is what Sylvie sees when she climbs the tree.
--Stherr 20:14, 4 September 2008 (EDT)I agree with the general consensus here that Sylvia loved nature. Last semester in my Environmental Psych class, we spent a good deal of time focusing on biophilia, which just means and innate, undeniable, love of nature. Biophilia is definitely among the list of characteristics that I would attribute to Sylvia.
To comment on what has already been said, I clearly was raised in the same type of environment that Amanda was, because I took issue with the young man showing up to this country home and practically demanding food. And I too found it strange that he pressured for food but not information on the heron’s whereabouts. Devon suggested that the hunter’s want to stuff the bird was a comment on the human tendency to want to triumph over nature. I agree with this. If you think about it, if we didn’t want to triumph over nature why would we live in houses and not under tree branches and leaves? Or why would we stay inside with air conditioning rather than be outside in the 90 degree heat? Don’t get me wrong, there are people that would like living outside and people that thrive in all kinds of weather conditions and don’t complain. I think Sylvy would be a person like that.
Emily Smith asked why a heron? And Emily Hummel suggested it was because of the rarity, beauty, and gracefulness of the bird. I agree. When I simply read her sentence about the heron, I instantly got a gorgeous picture in my mind. Those of you familiar with the opening credits of The Notebook can see the picture in my mind. While I am positive that the birds in the credits are not white heron, the beauty and gracefulness of the flying birds is incredibly breathtaking. However, I have another suggestion for why Jewett chose for Sylvy to connect and protect a white heron rather than another animal. Tied to Devon’s comment suggesting the story is one about growing up, I see the white heron as a symbol for Sylvy’s purity and innocence. White is known to signify purity and innocence on many occasions. Sylvy is at that age where she is just beginning to grow up, as we see with her interactions with the hunter throughout the story. Maybe he reluctance to “give up” the bird’s hiding place signifies her reluctance to give up her innocence of being a child.
--Anleh 20:22, 4 September 2008 (EDT) I thought main focus of the story was to show a young girl's first glimpse into becoming a woman. I thought the White Heron symbolized Sylvia's innocence, and the hunter killing birds represented his ability to take her innocence away. The color of the heron, white, represents purity, virginity, and overall innocence. Sylvia, at the beginning of the story, immediately questions the nature of the hunter and whether or not he is good. I thought this may represent her beginning puberty, and questioning the emotional changes that are going on within her. Her growing to like the hunter and eventually have a crush on him is her starting to except those emotions and enjoy them. When she climbs the tree it is her reflecting on who she was and who she is becoming. Her seeing where the heron lives and knowing she can show the hunter how to get there is her becoming empowered. She has reflected on herself and on becoming a women and she decides she is ready to grow up, so she runs back to tell the hunter that she wants him to help her grow up. She chooses him being with her, over the bird (her innocence) living. But when she gets back something changes. I’m not sure what it is, but for some reason she decides she isn’t quite ready to grow up. Maybe being at home and seeing her grandmother makes her think about her childhood and how she loves it and wants keep her innocence for a bit longer. After the hunter leaves, Sylvia questions if her decision was right. It was her first chance to start becoming a woman, and she rejected it. This again represents the emotional struggle a lot of youths feel when they start puberty.
Also, the rarity of the White Heron in the region may represent the character Sylvia's rarity in the writing of the time. This is where the story shows regionalism. Sylvia is a unique character because she is a girl and also she isn’t particularly driven towards anything. Instead, she is interested in mundane things like cows and birds. Even though she knows the hunter “Can make them rich with money… and they are poor now.” (pg. 92) Sylvia still chooses her innocence over the hunter and his money. She chooses staying the same over making progress, and she’d rather stay just how she is then reach “American ideals.”
Oh and I forgot to mention before that Sylvia's love of nature is another way the author is showing her innocence. The forest is not a very developed place, it is natural and barely touched. This relates to Sylvia because she still has the natural innocence of a child. Also you are much more likely to find a child aimlessly exploring the woods then you are a teenager or adult, so just her fascination with the wood is a childish quality. If the hunter had killed the heron, he would have killed a part of nature. If Sylvia had showed the hunter where the bird was, as I said before, she would be choosing being with him over her love of nature, and therefore choosing growing up and the emotions that come with it over being an innocent child. The setting of the story being in the woods and Sylvia's love for nature are just other things the other is using to show the struggle of growing up and choosing between innocence and adulthood.
--Kereynolds 21:13, 4 September 2008 (EDT) I felt like this story was a way for Jewett to bring early environmental issues to the forefront by telling a story that placed importance on the preservation of rare exotice birds. I think that by having a young and innocent girl as the main character allowed for the sort of "duh" factor to those reading it during its origional time. By implementing youth into the story as the main decision maker, it makes a point to show that it should be obvious that saving animals and the environment is important and is the blatent correct choice. Since this idea went against a lot of the general ideas during that time, i think it partially qualifies for regionalism- through the fact that it poses a generally "unAmerican" (for the time period- 1886 was when it was written) idea.
I also agree that this story is regionalism becuase of a female protagonist, the subject is seemingly mundane as well (hunting birds), and it also goes against the accepted behavior that humans should kill any animal they want.
The picture of a heron that i chose is this one: File:Http://lh6.ggpht.com/ zWlS5wcoJes/Rn3aK3aRguI/AAAAAAAAALs/iviJUA0c5zw/heron+in+flight.jpg I chose this one becuase i think it represents Sylvia's breaking free from the norm, and he freedom of choice, like a bird's flight.
--Jehudson 22:51, 4 September 2008 (EDT) First I want to show the picture that was instilled in me of the White Heron that Sylvia reflects on seeing. http://wiki.ursinus.edu/images//b/b5/P6427doc.jpg. I also wanted to show a picture of what the Whippoorwills looks like http://wiki.ursinus.edu/images//7/7d/Whippoorwill.jpg.
The reason why I wanted to show both of these photos is because it helps with my point that I think the story is making. I believe that the story is a battle between black and white. I say this because all the references to white and dark. I believe that Jewett has set up a story to show the racial tension that was going on during 1886. The WHITE heron is valued and looked upon with great admiration, while everything that is embodied as dark in the story (the winter darkness pg 90, dark boughs pg89, dark with excitement pg 89, dark branches pg 90, dark against the sky pg 91) were seen as wrong, or treacherous and insidious. I think that Jewett formed a story that at its core is the constant tugging of race relations that people had in the 1886. I say this because during this time period the Jim Crow Laws have just came into affect only 10 years prior [Jim Crow Laws]. Black has just been given the right to vote 16 years ago but were still being prohibited by racist whites, things like the Grandfather Clause, or poll taxes [15th Amendment in 1865]. The Ku Klux Klan was not founded long after that in the same year in 1865 [KKK. Plus, the Supreme Court of the land had just ruled that the Federal government cannot tell the corporations that they cannot discrimination on the basis of race.
So my argument is that this story illustrates the racial tension that was in the world during the time when Jewett wrote it. I am not saying that Jewett was a racist, but I don’t know she very well as might have been.
But, back to why I upload the photos on the WHITE heron and the whippoormill is to show the difference of the choice of birds. The white bird is all prestigious looking and powerful and gracious while the whippoormill looks like a little pigeon or something of course that has to portray the “black” bird.
None of you guys have to agree with me, but I’m just not satisfied that the meanings that everyone else gave. About how the story was about young Sylvia “loving nature” or “going through puberty” affected a young women's life. They may play a part in the story that Jewett may be trying to tell. BUT I still believe that this story is about black vs. WHITE (I put white in CAPS because everyone knows that white is for some reason portrayed as being better than black). But she also does throw in that little gray area (gray eyes pg 89, gray feathers pg 91) that most people will use to try and disclaim their racist views.
But if anyone disagrees with me, tell me why I should believe this story does not illustrate clearly the idea that white is better black? I am open to commentary.
--Mamcmahon 02:23, 5 September 2008 (EDT) I just read through alll of the responses and I really agree with what most of the points you have raised. I especially like Anna's point about the heron representing Sylvia's innocence. When I first read this story I was struck by the nature theme that is obviously present. Sylvia connects more with nature and animals than she does with humans which I think is a result of her family life. Sylvia and her grandmomther seem very disconnected from one another, in fact, she has a stronger connection with her cow than she does with any of her family. At first I thought this was a bad thing, but then I realized it wasn't so much the family's doing as it was Sylvia's. She is so distracted by nature and her love for it that she is oblivious to her actual family. Is this a bad thing? I'm not sure...
I believe that Sylvia's connection with nature is more than just an appreciation of it. I think that she is torn between what group she should identify with, animals or humans. The hunter brings the human quality of love to her which she wants to embrace but in order to do this she must sacrifice her nature-filled life. Once Sylvia assisted in killing the heron she would no longer be able to connect with nature like she used too, she would become human just like the hunter. To me it seems that Sylvia wants the best of both worlds but she finds that she cannot. This tug-of-war between humanity and nature inside of her contributes to her feelings of lonliness. Sylvia could be classified as the only one of her kind. In this story she cannot find anyone with whom she truly connects. She wants to connect with the hunter but she cannot because of his desire to kill "the very birds he seemed to like so much"(89). Sylvia is neither human nor beast and the moment that she shares with the heron in the tree confirmed this. I found the ending to be depressing because Sylvia, whom I like very much, is doomed to be a "lonely country child"(92).
I was truly suprised when Sylvia found herself drawn to the hunter who commited acts of speciesism (if you want to read about speciesism go here, it's pretty interesting). How could someone who loved nature so much support one who destroys it? Well I think the answer ties in with the points that others have been making about her womanhood leading her down a path which the innocent Sylvia otherwise would not go. So are animals innocent? Are humans evil? I was confused as to who was right and who was wrong in this story... i felt that there was a lot of grey area (maybe that is why there are mutliple references to the color grey??).
I was particularly drawn to this heron photo. When I read the story I had a distinct image of a beautiful yet strong bird that stood out from everything around it. I feel that this picture illustrates the unequaled beauty of the white heron from the forest in which it dwells. When the white heron appears it is unmistakable but in only a moment it can disappear as quickly as it came. The description of the bird has a magical quality about it ("look, look! a white spot of him like a single floating feather comes up from the dead hemlock and grows larger, and rises, and comes close at last, and goes by the landmark pine with steady sweep of wing and outstretched slender neck and crested head"(91)") which is reflected nicely in this unearthly picture.
--luproshansky 02:35, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
I agree with Mamcmahon, and I like her point that there is a pull between which group Sylvia will identify with, animals or humans. I thought there was an interesting dynamic between Sylvia's more innocent, animalistic qualities and her more complex humane qualities. Obviously I think that her innocence won over because she let the Heron live, but I was wondering why. From the author's perspective, she could have gone it one of two ways. Either Jewett forced Sylvia's hand and chose for her- to prove a point, or she made the decision as Sylvia would have. Had Jewett chosen for Sylvia, I believe this purpose would have been to show that a life devoted to protecting nature is worth more than a life devoted to killing it, no matter the cost (ten dollars was a lot of money back then). Another point she could be making is that a more innocent, sinless person would make better decision than a person who has lived a life of guilt, such as the hunter. Basically, the more a person sins, the more likely they are to continue sinning; "As the heart grows blacker, so do the deeds." (Anonymous) However, if Jewett "chose through Sylvia," so to speak, than I think Sylvia's decision was one of nature vs. nurture. Because Sylvia is only a child, she has more of her original nature in her than, say, her grandmother. I feel like the world around her would be teaching her (nurturing her) to take the ten dollars, and let the heron die. However, because Sylvia chose to heron live, I believe that Nature is ultimately a more powerful force that what we are brought up to believe. I think that one of the author's main points is that Human Nature is a hugely powerful force, and that nurture is only secondary.
--Alluck 11:03, 5 September 2008 (EDT) For me, this picture really shows the grace and the beauty of the White Heron from the story. It also show's its power in its strong wings as it flys away.
One of the questions that stood out to me was Amanda's question as to why the young man doesn't pressure Sophie into telling him where the White Heron is. I think the fact that he has offered them a substantial amount of money for the information may be the reason for this. Why would he expect her to turn down money that could take them out of poverty? In American society it is often expected for a person to better themselves and work toward progress, not to give all that up for a single bird. I think this is part of Regionalism, challenging and rejecting the common American ideals of taking advantage of any opportunity to better yourself.
To respond to Jervis' argument that the story shows tension between the races I have to admit that I never would have gotten that from the reading. Though you make some very good points and could even add that the crows are another black bird which is despised and looked down upon by the characters while the white heron is praised, at least by Sylvia. The other characters are less enthusiastic about its beauty and grace. Though the young man believes the bird to be beautiful he still wants to kill it which is why I think the dark and light images are more about Sylvia's childhood innocence and how she is on the verge of losing it. The stranger comes during the darkness and then attempts to make her give up her precious bird for promise of money. The fact that this is a constant battle for Sylvia throughout the story makes me think that the contrasting images relate more toward this battle than one of the races. Though the story certainly does put light and white above darkness and therefore could be read as saying white is superior to all including in race.
--Miintrator 11:49, 5 September 2008 (EDT) First off, I'd like to say that Jervis' entry made me think, but I'm not sure if I believe it or not. He DID, as the person above me states, make very good points towards his argument, but I also believe that everyone elses points on nature and womanhood were at least the first or second layers of the story. I'm sure if you went any deeper, you could see more.
For some reason I messed up on my entry while trying to upload my picture. Lets see if it works this time:
This is what I see when I read the story.
One quick point I'd like to throw out there is about the loving nature argument. If she loves nature so much, why is it that Sylvia doesn't cry or be even the least bit bothered by her cat "fat with young robins" (85). To me, it seems that this might be hinting at something, since I remember my childhood very well, and when I was young, any sort of death would bother me. This doesn't phase Sylvia in the least. I also like how Sylvia hides away from 'the enemy,' another human. Another favorite quote: "she could not understand why he killed the very birds he seemed to like so much" (89).