Mrs. Tilley is Sylvia’s grandmother who owns a farm in rural Maine. She is old enough to have an experienced knowledge of the countryside and to need of one of her grandchildren to help her with farm duties, hence bringing Sylvia to live with her. Mrs. Tilley’s life is colored by “family sorrow,” as four of her children have died, her daughter lives away from home in town, and she has lost touch with her son who went out West, though she says she does not blame him for not communicating. She cares for her granddaughter and enjoys watching her grow, noting that bringing Sylvia to live with her in the country has allowed the child to come alive with wonder and energy. Sylvia marvels at how Mrs. Tilley feels a strong sense of community with the other folks who live in the country and shows hospitality to strangers like the hunter. Her wise and caring nature shows the wholesome characteristics of country folk that Jewett wishes to document and celebrate in the story.
Mrs. Tilley Character Timeline in A White Heron
The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Tilley appears in A White Heron. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.