Silent Snow, Secret Snow Topics for Further Study
by Conrad Aiken

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Research the fundamentals of Freud’s psychological theory, especially his concepts of the Oedipal complex and the ‘‘Primal Scene.’’ How are these concepts related to the clinical concept of madness? To what degree do they explain what happens to Paul Hasleman?

What human connections will Paul be unable to develop since he has become ill? Explore the implications of his illness.

As a poet and to a certain extent as a fiction writer, Aiken was identified with the modernist school. What aspects or elements of ‘‘Silent Snow, Secret Snow’’ make it modernistic? Alternatively, does anything suggest that the story does not belong to modernism but to some more traditional school of fiction writing?

Discuss the theme of alienation as it relates to ‘‘Silent Snow, Secret Snow.’’ Is alienation inseparable from insanity, or is it possible to imagine a perfectly sane individual who is just as alienated from reality?