The girl in the novel “A White Heron” is the principle protagonist, who discovers that she enjoys an exceptional connection with nature. She decides to protect her natural environment rather than use it for her own as well as the hunter’s gain. Sarah Jewett’s “A White Heron” portrays the environment as a precious heritage and depicts the wildlife as having inherent value ally apart from the functions for which human beings use it. Jewett contrasts a youthful girl from the countryside with a hunter from the higher-classes to illustrate the importance of preserving the natural environment. She also depicts the ignorance of human beings in supposing that nature is primarily meant to be used for man’s benefit.
In the tale, Jewett implies that nature is pure and untainted, while the human race constantly seeks to destroy it. Sylvy’s initial meeting with the man who hunts shows the reality of this point, “Suddenly this young woods-girl is startled to hear a shrill whistle coming from a short distance away. The whistle is not friendly, but determined, and quite aggressive” (Thomson 56). This expression proves that Jewett desired her readers to respect their natural environment almost as much, if not more, than they would their fellow human beings. Sylvy obviously possessed a very dissimilar set of values from those of the hunter. Jewett seemed to hint that this was the natural outcome of their different social classes. Sylvy did not really embrace her existence or enjoy it until she was living in close proximity to nature. The hunter felt that her lifestyle was for sensitive creatures that had no strength to combat the world. Sylvy’s exceptional feeling for the natural environment was revealed in her words: “There was not a single area she was unaware of, and the wild animals perceived her as being one of them...” (Thompson 49).
Jewett depicts nature’s acceptance of Sylvy as a great honor that was bestowed on the girl and something to be admired. Sylvy’s life appears to be enhanced by her understanding of nature to the extent that she succeeds in finding the secret of the heron, even as the hunter is deprived of the chance to capture the unique bird. Jewett offers the suggestion that people can actually live in harmony with nature if they only concede to respect it. The failure of the skilled hunter to kill the white heron is meant to indicate that nature’s true character is usually of a purer nature than the skewed values of man.
“The Passing of Grandison”
Charles Chesnutt was a black American writer who benefited from the acceptance of his works in a largely racist society. The mainly white readership of his era was well acquainted with the subject of slavery, and some of his readers undoubtedly had slaves. Chestnutt was one of the initial African Americans, who had his works accepted by a principle American publishing house. In Chesnutt’s time, there were numerous economic as well as social hopes raised by the liberation of slaves. However, white supremacy was soon reintroduced in the Southern states. In Chesnutt's book, "The Passing of Grandison" humor and satire is used to depict the standard prejudices of Southern whites. Light-skinned African Americans who could be mistaken for being white normally used the term “passing” that is used in the title. In this tale, however, the word ‘passing’ is used to infer to Grandison’s attempt to appear an unassuming, illiterate, and loyal slave, who is dedicated to his master.
The story must have been the source of a great deal of controversy in an era where Black people were viewed as being less intelligent than Whites. This was probably the Chesnutt's intention (McElrath and Leitz III 103). If a great stir was the result, his society would have to re-evaluate the way it perceived African Americans. This book was probably a favorite of the Abolitionists, who advocated the end of slavery and the reinstitution of the African American into the mainstream society.