Motif Example in Scarlet Letter

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Definition: : an element, such as a type of incident, reference, idea, phrase, or image—which is repeated frequently in a single work of literature or throughout literature in general. Example: “The sportive sunlight—feebly sportive, at best, in the predominant pensiveness of the day and scene—withdrew itself as they came nigh, and left the spots where it had danced the drearier, because they had hoped to find them bright. ‘Mother’, said little Pearl, ‘the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. Now, see! There it is, playing, a good way off. Stand you here, and let me run and catch it. I am but a child. It will not flee from me; for I wear nothing on my bosom yet!.’” Context: This quote is taken from chapter sixteen of the widely popular novel, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In this chapter, Hester has made the decision to tell Dimmesdale the truth about Dimmesdale’s identity, and she and Pearl await him along his route through the forest the he normally takes to commute between the colony and native villages inland. As Hester and Pearl stroll along the forest paths, Pearl notices something odd occurring on her mother. The sunlight seems to always be shining on Pearl and other creatures in the woods, but it has been avoiding Hester for their entire journey through the woods. Effect: Throughout the novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne repeatedly focuses on a recurring idea in the story—the contrast between light and dark, and sunshine and shadow. In many cultures across the globe, darkness and dark colors represent shame, sin, and disgrace. Hawthorne takes advantage of this universal concept and applies it to the novel’s sequence of events. Hester is a sinner. She has committed crimes that defy the wishes of god himself, and she has been ridiculed and outcast from her community. Moreover,
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