In this essay the “Silent Snow, Secret Snow” is analyzed. In his short story, Silent Snow, Secret Snow written in 1934, Conrad Aiken explores the nature of snow in combination with the nature of mental illness as it begins to overwhelm a young boy. …
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In a story like Aiken’s, the narrative is from the perspective someone who is afflicted by the presence of an illness. According to Donley and Buckley, “narratives ’teach us how to be human’ and thus are essential for the understanding of each other”. The nature of the narrative is to develop a perspective on a situation, the understanding of how being human is being experienced within the framework of the events that are affecting life. Donley and Buckley go on to say that “Especially in the health care professions, where the patient may be referred to by symptom or diagnosis, narratives remind us there is a whole complex person with a life story in which this particular illness may be just a small anecdote”. In the short story by Aiken, the sense of the protagonists life is given to the reader through the way in which he is experiencing the loss of his old life and the appearance of an obsession that is typifying his new framework of experience. His life is now a living metaphor, the way in which his mind manifests his illness becoming an extension of the metaphor for life and for a life that is frozen and no longer in healthy growth. Water and Snow The nature of snow is based in its chemistry, the way in which it is an alternative expression of water. Water is the resource of life, the substance in which all matter of organic construction is based within this world. Water symbolizes a great number of things from a literary standpoint, including renewal, health and life. In a film, rain will often symbolize a washing away of the problems of the characters and the development of a new and fresh emotional connection. This can be found when a couple stands in the rain, finally discovering their feelings for one another and ending with that event filled kiss. The importance of water is what makes it a powerful metaphor, representing a great many aspects of life, as well as representing life itself. When it is formed into snow, it is frozen, beginning a path towards the inability to move. Sometimes this can mean emotions, the direction of life, or even the inability to move. Snow can represent a blanket that holds everything still in time, falling pristine into the world and keeping it in place until something comes along and disturbs it, changing what once was into a new configuration. Water is life, where snow is its stasis, the ability to hold it in time or to freeze it in place without movement or growth, but also without destruction. It can be the stillness before the emergence of spring or the beginning of renewal, but in the case of the story by Aiken, it is the beginning of an unending stillness that will
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