Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"The White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett

"The White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett (1886, 5 pages)

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849 to 1909-Maine, USA) was a very prolific novelist and short story writer.    Wikipedia has a good article on her.     I think she is not read as much now as she once was.    Like Eudora Welty,  her work is set in an isolated part of the USA,  her native Maine.  

One of the things I love about short stories is they allow us to try out new to us writers.     "The White Heron" is the first work of Jewett I have read.    It is a simple work that reads almost as if it were meant for children.   I read it on a very interesting web page designed for adults learning English for the first time.    All of the stories on the web page are chosen for relative simplicity of vocabulary and clarity of expression.

The central character of "The White Heron" is a  girl in her early teens.    She has recently moved from parents house to her grandparents farm.   She feels a great joy in the beauty of the farm land versus what she calls "the filthy,  dirty city".      She has one main duty.    That is to go get the family cow which is allowed to roam during the day.     One day she encounters and is first frightened by a young man with  a gun.    It turns out he is a scientist who shoots and stuffs birds for study.   There is a beautiful white heron he is in search of for his collection.   At first the girl thinks he is cruel.    She does not understand how he can seek to kill the birds he loves.   She begins to feel the first stirrings of love for the handsome young man.  

The story takes an interesting turn here and I do not want to give away more of the plot.    There is a deep appreciation of the beauty of nature in this story.   I could feel Jewett's love for Maine in this work.   I would be willing to try more of her short stories.  

You can both read and at the same time listen to this story HERE.    This does make it good for learners of English as a second language.

This was an enjoyable read and I am glad I tried a Jewett work.  

Mel u


Unknown said...

Such a short story and available for free online - no excuse not to try it. I've never read her. Thanks!

Mel u said...

Monica you are welcome-at the link I provided you can both listen to it and read it!-