The Role of Nature in Two Short Stories: "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett and "Greenleaf" by Flannery O'Connor
Turkey, ID LLCE2016-275; Being significant regional American writers, Sarah Orne Jewett in “A White Heron”, and Flannery O’Connor in “Greenleaf” use the country with its appropriate fauna and flora as the setting for their stories, and they employ several natural elements neatly integrating them into the action. The nature is also utilized so as to demonstrate the main characters’ personalities as well as their point of view of the outer world with the people and other creatures in it. A special animal is used symbolically to represent the characters’ attitudes towards life in each work; “A White Heron” is an initiation story in which the nine-year-old heroine Sylvia discovers herself through her peaceful intercourse with the “white heron”, whereas the “bull” image in “Greenleaf” is used to depict all the things that the self-righteous Mrs. May feels are against her. It is also possible to observe the clash of the natural and the material in both stories; they exhibit how Mrs. May loses her affinity with the nature being over concerned with her financial problems, and Sylvia returning material interest for the sake of the heron. As well as the natural world around them, the stories may be examined in relation with the nature of the characters; whether they are able to be true to themselves and accordingly demonstrate a genuine self and a balanced psyche. Both stories appreciate the nature as harmonious and life-giving, but also as a powerful being running its own system to nourish and protect itself.