"a wretched geranium..."
See in text (Part I)
The geranium, which did not grow or flourish in the town where Sylvia previously lived, symbolizes Sylvia’s life before moving to the farm. It also contrasts the town with the vibrant natural world of the farm where Sylvia now feels alive for the first time.
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"she cannot tell the heron's secret and give its life away...."
See in text (Part II)
Despite how much Sylvia wants to please the young hunter and earn for her grandmother his reward for revealing the white heron’s nest, she cannot do it at the expense of the heron’s life. The heron is a symbol of the beauty and freedom found in the natural world that Sylvia loves as a child of the woods. By refusing to betray the heron, Sylvia expresses her deepest personal values.