“The White Heron” is an excellent example of realism, more specifically, about its variety called local color realism. According to Washington State University, “local color or regional literature is fiction and poetry that focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features particular to a specific region” (WSU 2007). The main focus in these stories is often the region rather than the individual character, and events closely reflect those typical in a certain area.
Sarah Jewett is known to be an author who is in love with New England countryside. Her story “The White Heron” is a clear tribute to the area. The writer is appreciate of the beauty of her favored US region: “The woods were already filled with shadows one June evening, just before eight o’clock, though a bright sunset still glimmered faintly among the trunks of the trees”; “There was the huge tree asleep yet in the paling moonlight…” (Jewett 1997).
She also takes care to describe the living styles in the area: It was a surprise to find so clean and comfortable a little dwelling in this New England wilderness. The young man had known the horrors of its most primitive housekeeping, and the dreary squalor of that level of society which does not rebel at the companionship of hens. The cow that is the girl’s faithful companion is another proof of simple lifestyle in the area. The relative poverty in which the family lives is not unusual for their area.
The characters of Sylvia and Mrs. Tilley also seem representative of the area: two unassuming women fond of nature around them and capable of taking in its beauty, perfectly blending with its freedom and space. One could even claim that a story like that could only have happened in an area like New England, namely one where people live a simple country life close to nature so that they can appreciate its beauty and develop affection for the bird as if it were a close friend.