The innocence of childhood can have an impact on the mind such that seemingly simple tasks are larger than life experiences. Embarking on a journey to do something that an adult finds useless can be the most fun adventure ever, and the sense of discovery in a child is a feeling he/she never forgets. In "A White Heron," Sarah Orne Jewett describes the journey of a little girl and reminds the reader how it feels to have a sudden moment of revelation.
To convey this universal idea, Jewett utilizes a chronological organization that moves from a challenge to a quest and finally to a moment of victory. In the beginning, the speaker describes the greatness of a particularly great pine-tree and presents the idea of Sylvia attempting the difficult feat of climbing the tree. With the inclusion of details such as seeing the ocean from the top and Sylvia placing her hand on the trunk, the reader gains a sense of her desire for taking on this challenge. These details set the stage for what is to follow and help establish the feelings Sylvia has about her goal of climbing the tree, depicting her as a curious and adventurous girl. In the middle of the passage, Sylvia embarks on her quest to climb the monstrous pine-tree by climbing a nearby tree first. The sense of energy in the story increases greatly during this part as she makes her way up the tree by creating a tension that the reader can easily feel. The speaker describes Sylvia's journey in detail and creates the image of an incredibly excited child having the experience of a lifetime. In the end, once Sylvia does make it to the top of the great tree, there is a moment of epiphany as the great challenge at hand as been completed. What began as an intimidating idea turned into a daring reality for Sylvia, and the reward is as good as she expected. Describing the view of the ocean as well as Sylvia's reaction, the speaker creates an illustration of pure awe that accompanies a defining moment in the child's life up to this point.