Submission Title

A Narrative of Ecocentrism: A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett

Session Number

RS13

Location

Robinson 229

Abstract Number

RS13-e

Abstract

Sarah Orne Jewett is known to the literary world as a regionalist writer and a pioneer of ecocentrism: a school of thought that values the natural world and its living inhabitants over manmade infrastructure and technological advancement. Growing up at the height of the Industrial Revolution, Jewett was witness to the decimation and commodification of the natural world, including the extinction of the rural way of life of her dear pastoral Maine.

Sylvia, the protagonist of “A White Heron” parallels Jewett’s upbringing. Sent to her grandmother’s rural cottage from a busy industrial town, young Sylvy instantly feels kinship with her wild surroundings. In a deceptively simple narrative woven with arguments for the preservation of nature and the dangers of industrialization, Sylvia’s eventual victory over the oppressive influence of an outside force includes a plea from Jewett not to forsake the beauty and wholeness of nature.

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Apr 23rd, 3:15 PM Apr 23rd, 4:45 PM

A Narrative of Ecocentrism: A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett

Robinson 229

Sarah Orne Jewett is known to the literary world as a regionalist writer and a pioneer of ecocentrism: a school of thought that values the natural world and its living inhabitants over manmade infrastructure and technological advancement. Growing up at the height of the Industrial Revolution, Jewett was witness to the decimation and commodification of the natural world, including the extinction of the rural way of life of her dear pastoral Maine.

Sylvia, the protagonist of “A White Heron” parallels Jewett’s upbringing. Sent to her grandmother’s rural cottage from a busy industrial town, young Sylvy instantly feels kinship with her wild surroundings. In a deceptively simple narrative woven with arguments for the preservation of nature and the dangers of industrialization, Sylvia’s eventual victory over the oppressive influence of an outside force includes a plea from Jewett not to forsake the beauty and wholeness of nature.