Sunlight and shadow

Posted by Bruce Kahl on January 25, 2002

In Reply to: sunlight and shadow posted by ESC on January 25, 2002

: : Does anyone know if these two words being used together has a basis in literature? Thanks for the help!

: Well...for starters, there are the words to:

: Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
: From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
: The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
: 'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
: But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
: Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
: 'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow

Writers often use devices to enhance their literary style. Two of these devices are imagery and metaphor.
The use of sunlight and shadow in a novel is an example of the use of these devices.

Sunlight and shadow often represent good vs evil or innocence vs guilt.
For instance, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a novel entitled "Scarlet Letter".

The story is about a woman, Hester, who has an affair and gives birth to little girl named Pearl.
It is set in Puritan Massachusetts and having a child out of wedlock back then was not a very good thing. Hester is introduced to the ugliness, complexity, and ultimately the strength of the human spirit. The novel is full of consuming emotions--guilt, anger, loyalty, revenge--and is very rich in literary devices to convey these emotions.

The innocence of Pearl, the daughter, is always explained by sunshine:
"Pearl set forth at a great pace, and as Hester smiled to perceive, did actually catch the sunshine, and stood laughing in the midst of it, all brightened by its splendour, and scintillating with the vivacity excited by rapid motion."

The villains of the story are sometimes seen in a dark forest:
"The darkened forest was obscure around them, and creaked with a blast that was passing through it. The boughs were tossing heavily above their heads; while one solemn old tree groaned dolefully to another, as if telling the sad story of the pair that sat beneath, or constrained to forbode evil to come."

The full text of the novel can be found at the link below.