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white heron

            The story, "White Heron" relates to how humanity in general has in some ways evolved and in some ways stood still when referring to women's rights. It describes a child coming into women hood before her time when advanced upon by an older male stranger. This story takes place in the late 1800's when women were looked down upon and treated as objects by men. White Heron used a child (Sylvia) to write about an adult subject, the relationships between a man and a woman. Through this story Sylvia embarks on a journey to self-realization and women hood in discovering her passion for the peace and solidarity found in the woods and with her woodland friends. I will use the Cycle of Human Experience to dissect Sylvia's coming of age story, by documenting her experiences as they relate to the points in the cycle.
             The prediction of birth for Sylvia begins while she tends to her chore of driving her cow home. They walk in the woods filled with shadows towards the western light that leads to her birth, when the character is recognized as special. In literary works the reference to shadows represents the prediction of death and the west signifies death, which in turn symbolizes Sylvia's dying as a little girl and being resurrected as a woman. This is the stepping-stone in Sylvia becoming a woman.
             Sylvia's quest is to find her inner self and evolve into the independent woman she .
             was meant to be. The journey first began when she migrated from the city, living with a house full of siblings to the country life with just her grandmother. She began to realize that her heart is in the country, feeling as though she had never been alive until she moved to the farm. .
             The temptation in this story is the male stranger who just happens to be hunting for "birds" (a term for women) in the very same woods that Sylvia is walking in.

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