Study Guide

A White Heron Isolation

By Sarah Orne Jewett

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Don't let Akon fool you—a little bit of loneliness isn't necessarily a bad thing, and this is certainly the case in "A White Heron." In the story, we're introduced to a young country girl named Sylvia whose only companions are her grandmother and loyal cow. Needless to say, Friday nights are probably pretty wild around their place.

Sometimes this isolation is as comforting to Sylvia as a sweat suit on a cold winter day. Sometimes, however, it's as suffocating as, well, a sweat suit on a humid summer day. That's the thing about living an isolated life: It might be peaceful, but we all need a little bit of companionship at times.

Questions About Isolation

  1. How do Sylvia's feelings about isolation reflect her love of nature?
  2. Why is Sylvia so afraid of the hunter initially?
  3. How do you think Mrs. Tilley feels about their self-imposed isolation?
  4. Do you think Sylvia would like life in the city now that she's older?

Chew on This

It is Sylvia's natural love of isolation that prevents her from taking up the hunter's offer.

Sylvia's love of the isolation is bred from her early life experience in an overcrowded city.

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