What symbolism does the weather have in "Sorrow-Acre" in relevance to Adam and Anne-Marie?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Izak Dinesen is the pen-name for Karen Bliksen (nee Dinesen) who is famous for her biography Out of Africa which was adapted by Kurt Luedtke and made into a movie that won Academy Awards (Oscars) in various categories.

"Sorrow-Acre," part of Dinesen's Winter's Tales, recognizes a mother's unconditional love for her son, encourages compassion, and recognizes the cruelty of the world and the huge sacrifice that is often required and which cannot be conceptualized because, as Adam says about Anne-Marie's efforts, it is "too sweet for words." The weather, in its own beauty, harshness, and complexity, is able to reinforce what the reader already knows: that sometimes a new start can only come after tragedy—in this case, Anne-Marie's death.  

Returning to his family (ancestral) home, Adam arrives in the summer. It is key that Adam, a modern man who is "a strong and sturdy figure with fine eyes and hands," comes to the realization that the concept he is discussing with his uncle is much bigger than a man accused of burning down a barn.

Adam cannot change the inevitable and, although a degree of compassion is needed, he cannot fight the natural order of life. He eventually acknowledges the concept of the survival of the fittest and it is at this moment that he basically accepts Nature's part as he comes to a "sudden conception of the unity of the universe." Adam represents that very essential characteristic of Man: forgiveness. He encourages his uncle to show compassion and forgiveness but he must first find it in his own heart to forgive his uncle before there can be any real change. Man can make a difference but must submit to a higher force.

Adam's uncle, a seemingly harsh man, understands the weather's contribution to his own success or failure which is "formed by its soil and weather." As a landowner, he has seen the destructive elements and the huge rewards that Nature (the weather) imparts. He shows his own respect for this by giving Anne-Marie a chance to save her son (this to him is a compassionate step) and later by not allowing her to stop, despite her almost certain death. In contrast to Adam, Anne-Marie understands that there is a cost for everything and she is prepared to suffer for her son's sake. She dies of exhaustion, having worked tirelessly from sunrise to sunset, completing her task, ensuring her son's release. The weather then comes to represent the possibilities of a new start, something Anne-Marie has always understood. Her death allows her son a new start.

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