Sarah Orne Jewett



Feminism in short stories " A White Heron" and "Wine"

Compare "Wine" to "Room 19"

Doris Lessing, as feminist Writer

The Reflection on Gender by the Characters and the Narrators in “Wine” and “If I Were a Man”  Go




Feminism in short stories written by women

By Virginie Gauthier

What is feminism? “Feminism tends to understand gender difference and gender inequality by focussing on gender politics and sexuality throughout many spheres” (Elaine Showalter). One of these spheres is literature. In literature, feminism can be shown in many ways. In “Wine” by Doris Lessing, and “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett, feminism is presented

“Wine” by Doris Lessing shows a story written in a story. The second story is about a sixteen-year-old girl who is sexually offering herself to a man (the narrator of his memories) who is rejecting her despite the fact he kissed her. Despite the fact the story of the man is presenting her, the man is the protagonist. The feminism is clearly shown as a sexual emancipation from the woman. She clearly knows what she wants and is clearly disappointed by the man when he turns her down. The girl clearly had desire for the man, she ignored the fact he was in couple with another woman, and striped in front of him and offered herself in the hope he would love her, and he would forget his girlfriend. The truth is different; he refuses her and she leaves the barn frustrated with resentment; “She’ll never forget it, never, never!” (Lessing 857) The girl is a resistant female heroine in feminist stories, she take the lead before being “rescued” by a man, and as a secondary detail, she shows alternative knowledge as she become a doctor in Europe during World War II. Here she decides to take the lead in sexuality before being married or before a man chose for her.

In “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett, the feminism is presented through the eyes of a little girl, who is the protagonist. This little girl really loves nature and animals; suddenly a man shows. This man only wants to find birds and kill them. Although Sylvia thinks the man is attractive, when she learns that he “stuffed and preserved dozens and dozens of them[birds]” (Jewett 728), she rejects him. The man wants to know where the white heron’s nest is located so that he can kill it. Since Sylvia really loves animals, she rejects the man because she does not want to give him the information or the whereabouts of the white heron. Rejecting a male figure is really rare especially from a nine-year-old girl. The fact that Sylvia prefers nature to society is a big clue that the story is feminist. In nature, she is free, and can do whatever she wants; in society, she must follow rules that men creates to make women weak and constantly in need of them.

Happily, today women have better human conditions than in the first half of the twentieth century. For this improvement, we should thank the feminist movement; they have changed our life, sexual and even our work conditions. Some changes still can be done but it is sure that we will succeed one day.


Work Cited

Lessing, Doris. “Wine” “Fiction 100 An anthology of short fiction” Ed. Pickering, James H.Houston: Longman 2010. 854-857. Print

Orne, Jewett, Sarah. “A White Heron” “Fiction 100 An anthology of short fiction” Ed. Pickering, James H.Houston: Longman 2010. 725-732. Print

“Feminism.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 7 November 2010. Web. 10 November 2010