Discuss the importance of weather in a specific literary work, not in terms of plot.This is the basis of one of my assigned questions. A literary work(s) with a brief explanation about the...

Discuss the importance of weather in a specific literary work, not in terms of plot.

This is the basis of one of my assigned questions. A literary work(s) with a brief explanation about the significant weather in it will suffice. Importance of the weather could include any or all of the following (if applicable): atmospherics, misery factor, democratic element, etc.

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scarletpimpernel's profile pic

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

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If you have read The Kite Runner, then there are several instances of Khaled Hosseini's relying on pathetic fallacies associated with weather.  In literature a pathetic fallacy can be the author's use of weather or an outside environment to reflect a character's emotions or thought process. A specific example of this is when Amir (the main character and narrator) frames Hassan by planting a watch and money under Hassan's mattress.  Hassan's father (Ali) decides to leave Baba's household with his son, and as Amir watches his childhood friend and Ali leave, he observes that it is pouring down rain outside.  The rain reflects not only Amir's turbulent feelings but also his father's, and Amir even considers how the rain reminds him of an emotional scene from a Hindi movie.

Hosseini uses pathetic fallacy again at the novel's end when Amir goes to fly a kite with a boy he has rescued (Sohrab).  As Amir, Soraya, and Sohrab arrive at the park, it is an overcast, rainy day, but as the novel concludes, and Amir notices the hint of a smile on Sohrab, the sun comes out to represent an optimistic future for Amir, his wife, and Sohrab.

If you haven't read The Kite Runner, you could try citing a short story such as Poe's Black Cat in which a storm represents and reveals the violence committed by the narrator.

While an author's connection of weather to a character's thinking or emotions is somewhat illogical and usually just makes for an effective literary mood, there is quite a bit of research to demonstrate that weather--especially a lack of sunlight--can cause negative psychological effects.  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is full of examples of the weather reflecting Victor Frankenstein's many moods.

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wendil's profile pic

wendil | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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I love the use of snow in James Joyce's short story 'The Dead'. The story centers around a party where cold guests arrive drenched in snow, toiling to rid themselves of an armory of overcoats and galoshes. As the title suggests, death plays a prevalent part in the story. Not only is death a topic of conversation at the party, but many of the guests at the party seem headed for the grave without ever having fully lived. Following the protagonist, Gabriel, we encounter several sad fates: Mary Jane, a teacher, who plays pieces on the piano that no one listens to; Lily, who attends to the arriving guests, has lost hope of finding love; Bartell, a tenor, has lost his voice; and many of the other guests have troubles and vices that they battle - frozen and weighed-down people, much like the trees, outside the party, heavy with snow.

Gabriel has an epiphany at the end of the story. To his horror, he realizes that his own wife, Gretta, might be one of these living dead. She confides in him that she once loved a boy named Michael, who died at the age of seventeen. Michael was very ill at the time, but when he learned that Gretta is leaving their home town, he escaped into the cold winter rain to tell her goodbye. Although it is not clear whether he died as a result of the freezing rain, weather again plays a part in the story. However, take note: this instance it is more in terms of plot than as a motif.

The last paragraph of the short story is a beautiful, masterly written ending that makes use of snow as the symbol for death and paralysis. Snow is, furthermore, a leit-motif throughout the story. 'The Dead' would be well suited for a paper about the importance of weather in a specific literary work. Although reading James Joyce, and writing a paper about it, might seem like a daunting task, 'The Dead' is not nearly as difficult as his later work, yet still rich in material to write about. Indeed, picking a notoriously challenging author could prove a boost to the grade of the paper. There is also plenty of insightful material to find about 'The Dead'. Enotes own short story criticism is a good place to start. I'll provide a link to the page as a reference.

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