Snow Summary

Summary (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The narrator thinks he has survived for five months after an airplane crash in an Arctic blizzard, but he does not know for sure. The facts the survivor circles around are these: He is on the planet Earth; chance has destroyed his memory, which his dreams are beginning to reconstruct; he has been walking through a steady blizzard for five months; he has walked enough miles to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean; he is not walking in a straight line and may be making an error by walking in a circle; his mind is not his friend, although it is also his support and defense; and his need to survive is a sacred truth more important than the facts, which devour him when he relaxes his mental fixedness.

When he considers his chances for survival, he concludes that the facts of his existence fit so well together he could almost believe in Divine Providence. For example, he may have fallen through a snow cloud when the plane crashed; he may have awakened in an ammonia atmosphere; he may have had another sort of body; he may have had meaningless dreams instead of the ones that give him evidence of a previous existence; he may have had inadequate clothing; or he may have been without his battered old chair and mysterious harness so perfectly fitted for him to sleep. He admits that these facts should cause him to rejoice, but instead they burden him with a purposeful desire to survive.

From the evidence of his dreams, from the surprising amount of energy he...

(The entire section is 588 words.)