"A White Heron," a story carefully built into emotion by Sarah Orne Jewett explores man V.S. man as well as man V.S. nature and uses symbolism to create man V.S. himself. Sylvia is the main character growing up and finding she has to make moral and interpersonal decisions. The three main symbols we look for in the story are the geranium, a withered away flower, a pine tree, tall and vast in space, and a heron, unique, free, and alive.
First building conflict around the symbolism played in the story, we find a shy young girl named Sylvia, a hunter, and the young girls grandmother. The story takes place on a farm where the young girl and grandmother live. The hunter is staying at the farm for a couple of nights to hunt for a rare bird, the heron and comes to find that Sylvia has a special way with wild creatures. " Squirrels she"ll tame to come and" feed right o" her hands, and all sorts o" birds." So the hunter offers to give Sylvia ten dollars to help him find the heron. Sylvia loves nature and does not want to harm the bird but she could only think of all the wonders she could get with the money. .
Previous to living on the farm Sylvia lived in a town, " Everybody said that it was a good change for a little maid who had tried to grow for eight years in a crowded manufacturing town, but, as for Sylvia herself, it seemed as if she had never been alive at all before she came to live at the farm." In regards to Sylvia living in a town a little more than a year ago, "she thought often with wistful compassion of a wretched dry geranium that belonged to a town neighbor." The geranium is the first nature filled symbol. It represents Sylvia before she has come to life and dry in wisdom. As humans we try to seek interpersonal wisdom which is part of what makes us human.
Secondly, the story shows the symbol the pine tree. The pine tree is tall and at the top is the highest place Sylvia has ever been.