“Explaining Sensitive Themes to High School Seniors Contained within
Sarah Orne Jewett’s A White Heron”
High school seniors can be particularly sensitive to adult-related themes due to they have not yet been exposed to certain situations that are sometimes contained within pieces of literature. The discussion of these themes could be uncomfortable for a teacher trying to explain and to students trying to understand, but the tips contained within the following essay should prove helpful in conveying the sensitive themes within literature in a way that neither party involved feels uncomfortable, but all the while the themes of the text are still being conveyed. Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story, A White Heron, explores the theme of a girl’s sexual awakening at a young age; this idea could be difficult to discuss with high school seniors because of their young age, absence of life experience in the subject area, and lack of maturity. The following essay will give an analysis of the text, A White Heron, where the ideas of sexual awakening are present and how a teacher could present and teach the themes to high school seniors so that they fully grasp the sensitive themes of the text.
Within Sarah Orne Jewett’s, A White Heron, a young girl, Sylvy, has just moved into the vast woods of Maine to live with her grandmother and enjoys exploring the woods by her house during her free time. One day while Sylvy is exploring, a young man approaches her and asks for her help in his search for a white heron; Sylvy reluctantly obliges and helps the young man. After the start of the quest to find the heron, she begins to feel a slight love for the young man, "The woman's heart, asleep in the child, was vaguely thrilled by a dream of love" (Jewett). At this point the story takes the turn and the reader can understand that the theme of sexual awakening is present and understand the rite of passage that Sylvy embarks on, along with her search for the white heron. This can...