A White Heron and Other Stories

A White Heron and Other Stories Quotes and Analysis

What a spirit of adventure, what wild ambition! What fancied triumph and delight and glory for the later morning when she could make known the secret! It was almost too great for the childish heart to bear.


At this point Sylvia from 'A White Heron' is extremely excited that she will be able to impress the handsome stranger and tell him the location of the elusive white heron. She is proud of having such great knowledge to impart. Later, of course, Sylvia also shows her wisdom in not revealing the secret and choosing to protect the rare creature.

unsmiling Death who tries to teach and serve mankind so that he may at the last win welcome as a faithful friend!


The personification of death from 'The Gray Man' gives a more benevolent interpretation of this force than traditional descriptions offer. Death is still unsmiling, but is trying to be part of society and an aspect of humanity that has wisdom and a caring side.

One thing is certain: her own character had made as good a summer’s growth as anything on her farm


This quotation summarises the impact that Polly Finch's work has had on her self-esteem as well as the successes she has had in running the family farm in the story 'Farmer Finch'.

I suppose she will say to herself as long as she lives, when things look ugly and troublesome. “I’ll see if the other side is any better, like my barberry bush.”


The omniscient narrator of 'Farmer Finch' illustrates that Polly Finch has rescued the barberry bush as it symbolises her most unique trait and the key to her success - that Polly can look at issues from more than one perspective.

The gray primness of the plant is made up of a hundred colors if you look close enough to find them.


The symbol of the marsh rosemary plant from the story, 'Marsh Rosemary' highlights the fact that characters such as Ann Lane can be dismissed as dull, or 'gray', but with careful vision, it is possible to see the depth to the nature of such a woman.

“A lady cannot afford to be unattractive. I feel now as if we were prepared for anything!”


The two sisters from 'The Dulham Ladies' here illustrate how out of touch their values are. Both are elderly women who have yet to grasp the fact they are no longer young, influential or fashionable.

Yet the money getter may win great wealth, and fail completely of reaching his highest value, and reward, and satisfaction as a human being.


This observation is made by the narrator of 'A Business Man' to explain the value that s/he places on being part of society as being of much greater value than being financially well off.

‘Remember that getting money may make you as poor as it has me, and can leave you at last a beggar for a little friendliness, and sympathy, and occupation. There are other things which a man needs beside wealth to make him happy.’


This note left with the bequest for Mr. and Mrs. Chellis given by John Craven, protagonist from 'A Business Man'. Here he illustrates that he has learned an important lesson from his young business associate, and has ended his life spiritually richer than one would have predicted.

Sylvia had all the time there was, and very little use to make of it.


This quotation from the beginning of 'A White Heron' illustrates Sylvia's youth and innocence. She is able to spend her time communing with nature and is untouched by the fast moving, destructive world personified by the stranger.

"It takes two to make a quarrel, but only one to end it."


This observation is made by Martha Deans in 'Mary and Martha'. She is wisely noting that her sister Mary has ended a bitter family feud with a kind thought and some kind words. Mary is considered the gentler and less active sister, and yet her positive action here has helped to ensure their future income.