A White Heron Thesis

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The way is "harder than she thought; she must reach far and hold fast, the sharp dry twigs caught and held her and scratched her like angry talons, the pitch made her thin little fingers clumsy and stiff" (16-17).

But the tree itself now awakens to act as her supernatural guardian.

Sylvia's heart beats wildly, for not only would the ten dollars buy "many wished-for treasures," but she has herself seen the same white heron.

This, to use Campbell's terms, is her "call to adventure." The next day she tags along behind the hunter, grows increasingly fond of him, and decides to find the heron's nest. the last of its generation," stands at the edge of the woods taller than any other tree around (14).

Since then, it has become her most anthologized and best known story (Cary 101).

I feel that the key to both the Atlantic's puzzlement and the story's wide appeal is its handling of the hero archetype.

Her "threshold" is a white oak that just reaches the lowest branches of the pine tree: "When she made the dangerous pass from one tree to the other, the great enterprise would really begin" (16).

Once on the pine tree she experiences the most difficult trials of her journey.

The trip back to his homeland can be arduous, but once back he has a choice and a problem.

He can withhold or bestow his boon, whatever he wants (193).


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