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What images of coldness can you find in "The Cold Equations"?

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jamesharrell | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 15, 2010 at 10:43 AM via web

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What images of coldness can you find in "The Cold Equations"?

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 3, 2010 at 4:01 AM (Answer #1)

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Cold Imagery

1.  The EDS (emergency dispatch ship) has a sterile environment.  The closet door that Marilyn is hiding behind at the story's beginning is white, and Godwin includes makes mention of that lack of color several more times in the story. At the story's end, Marilyn is sent into a black, empty space before being released into "cold" space.

2.  After Marilyn discovers her fate, she becomes physically cold.  She asks Barton if he is cold, and he tells her that he is but then notes to himself that the EDS is still at room temperature.  Marilyn's physical coldness is the result of the cold reality of the consequence of her decision to stowaway.

3. hen Barton the pilot notifies command that he has a stowaway on board, the response from the dispatch center is emotionless.  The faceless dispatcher says,

"You discovered him in time, so there should be no appreciable danger, and I presume you’ve informed Ship’s Records so his nearest relatives can be notified.” 

This cold response treats Marilyn as a simply problem that can easily be "removed" and sheds light on the story's title--there is no room for warmth or compassion in the futuristic space world.

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