Study Guide

A White Heron Awe

By Sarah Orne Jewett

Awe

Do you believe in magic? Sylvia sure does in "A White Heron"—it just might not be of the conventional sort. Although Sylvia spends most of her time playing in the forest, there's one spot that holds a special place in her heart, a place that makes her feel like she can fly. Sounds great right? Well, the problem is that a young hunter has burst onto the scene and offered Sylvia a hefty sum to make that magic disappear. Want to find out what happens when the awe-inspiring power of nature is set up against the cash-money that civilization has to offer? Read on, Shmoopers.

Questions About Awe

  1. What makes the white heron so special?
  2. In your opinion, why does Sylvia's experience climbing the tree affect her so deeply?
  3. What does the "ship" metaphor say about Sylvia's awe at the natural environment?
  4. What makes the marsh different from the rest of the forest?

Chew on This

Sylvia's experience atop the pine tree reminds her that the majesty of nature can't be matched by man-made society.

When Sylvia climbs the trees to find the heron, she has what can only be described as a revelatory experience.

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