Why is the following quote from "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" meaningful, and how is it representational of the work as a whole? "'You've got a hell...

Why is the following quote from "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" meaningful, and how is it representational of the work as a whole?

"You've got a hell of a breath," he told it. "You stinking bastard." It moved up closer to him still and now he could not speak to it, and when it saw he could not speak it came a little closer, and now he tried to send it away without speaking, but it moved in on him so its weight was all upon his chest, and while it crouched there and he could not move or speak, he heard the woman say, "Bwana is asleep now. Take the cot up very gently and carry it into the tent."

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This is a story about a man, Harry, dying on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro as he and his wife await the plane they hope will take him to help. The man knows he is dying, despite his wife's reassurances.

At the point of this quote, death is coming for him. Before this, Harry used other metaphors for it—at first it is distant, likened to people on bicycles. Later, it is foreshadowed in the birds (vultures) hovering near. Now the dying Harry uses the metaphor of a hyena to describe death.

Hyenas are sometimes scavengers who eat the flesh of animals that have already been killed. In this metaphor, the animal is described as having bad breath and sitting on Harry heavily. This is a sensory image, as it conveys both smell and touch (weight), and it is an unpleasant image.

The quote is meaningful because it communicates to us as readers that Harry is near death. It conveys to us that he finds death unpleasant and that he is still fighting it, even to the end. The words of his wife, Helen, at the end, ordering the servants to move the cot, are also representative: as usual, the wife is unaware of the thoughts going through her husband's head.

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