In Fitzgerald's short story "The Ice Palace," what should Sally Carrol and Harry learn about themselves and about others by the story's end?

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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The contrast of attitudes and assumptions among people from the South and North is well described here, but it is Sally Carroll whose character is central to the story. Harry is charmed by her many good qualities, but it's the aspects of her personality that stem from her being a Southern girl that seem to fascinate him most. She is romantic, flirtatious, imaginative and childlike in many ways, and in this way is different from the Northern girls Harry has known, who are more matter of fact, practical and serious. Sally Carroll's existence is described as being relaxed, almost lazy, with a lack of interest in doing anything active or productive beyond trying to stay cool in the heat. The need for movement and activity in the North, perhaps contributing to a certain inudstriousness that Sally finds interesting, can be seen here as a direct result of the colder weather. Likewise, Sally's playfulness and relative helplessness (portrayed when she becomes hysterical while temporarily lost inside the ice palace) show that she may not possess the same ability to be practical and industrious when it is called for. The difference in climate and surroundings define these characters' approach to life and make it clear by the story's end that they will not be compatible.

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The Ice Palace

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