"Snow" by Ann Beattie_
The story under the title “Snow” was written by an American short story writer and novelist – Ann Beattie. Born on September 8, 1947 she has received an award for excellence from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a PEN/Bernard Malamud Award for excellence in the short story form. Her work has been compared to Alice Adams, J.D. Salinger, John Cheever, and John Updike. She holds an undergraduate degree from American University and a masters degree from the University of Connecticut.
Born in Washington, D.C., Beattie grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She gained attention in the early 1970s with short stories published in The Western Humanities Review, Ninth Letter, the Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker. Critics have praised her writing for its keen observations and dry, matter-of-fact irony which chronicle disillusionments of the upper-middle-class generation that grew up in the 1960s. In 1976, she published her first book of short stories, Distortions, and her first novel, Chilly Scenes of Winter, later made into a film. She has taught at Harvard College and the University of Connecticut and presently teaches at the University of Virginia, where she is the Edgar Allan Poe Chair of the Department of English and Creative Writing.
The story under the study is written in the form of a letter. It depicts the things happened with a couple, having had a rest in the country during a winter time. The narrator revizes every little unimportant thing happened at the place they stayed with her own estimation and value, so that everything acquires new meaning and interpretation. Though there is no mentioning names or protagonists, we realize the narrator is female writing to her lover. The author’s prompts prove this, we can easily notice it in the metaphor “like a crazy king of snow”. Reading the story we observe the pair enjoyed their time together, but something must have occurred and for the time being they are apart. No inclinations about how it came to be, just a letter with informative facts and recollections.
Besides, the narrator underlines that the addressee remembered everything in his own way, not paying attention at such significant details as snow and some others, as the narrator did. In general, there is a multiple apply of the word snow in the novel: the day of the big snow, knee-deep in snow, newly fallen snow, field of snow. Snow plays a symbolic role of love between the two. There was snow and there was love. At the moment it’s not a time for snow and accordingly love is absent in the hearts of the two. Though this letter may be the result of a hope calling for love, an approval that one of the two hearts still beats with passion and belief. Perhaps she still loves and wants to replay those days again.
Giving a general definition of the text under the study we should note it is written in the 1st person narrative. The narration is interlaces with descriptive passages. It comes as no surprise that there are no dialogues at all, as the letter can’t include them. The narration is broken by lyrical digressions which come like stream of consciousness. The prevailing mood of the story is quite sentimental, as it carries the memories of the loving person.
In expressing the narrator’s thoughts the author used metaphor in the following sentences, making the language of lover more sentimental and revealing her emotional attitude:
“In the kitchen, a pattern of white-gold trellises supported purple grapes as big and round as Ping-Pong balls.”, “…you, in white towel turban, like a crazy king of snow”.
Among the other stylistic devices we should also mark the case of asyndeton: “the child who happened to be standing on the right corner when the door of the ice-cream truck came open and hundreds of Popsicles crashed out; the man standing on the beach, sand sparkling in the sun, one bit glinting more than the rest, stooping to find a diamond ring.” Reading this sentence we observe the narrator conveying an individual perception of the things described.
The case of anaphora as if reflects the narrator’s warm feelings of the past, enhancing the expressiveness of the text: “You remember it differently. You remember that the cold settled in stages…”
All in all, the story is marked with pessimism, perhaps even giving us the constant reason to hope. It is a remarkable insight into human nature still full of secrets and mysticism.
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