Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 277
"Snow" is a very short story, a vignette written in the second person, a sort of reverie from a woman to the lover with whom she once spent a formative winter in a cottage in the country. There is no clear narrative flow to the story — it takes the...
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"Snow" is a very short story, a vignette written in the second person, a sort of reverie from a woman to the lover with whom she once spent a formative winter in a cottage in the country. There is no clear narrative flow to the story — it takes the shape of the woman's memories, beginning with the arrival at the cottage in which the young couple did not really belong. At first, the arrival of a chipmunk took them entirely by surprise. The narrator remembers painting over the grape-covered wallpaper that had been there when they arrived, and remembers the snow particularly. People visited the cottage as if expecting that this adventure on the part of the young lovers would not "work" — they made friends, but they seemed to expect the couple to return soon to where they came from.
At length, it seems, they did. There appears to have been no "drama" behind this — the narrator notes that her husband told her the stories others told, when visiting, seemed dramatic because of what they omitted, and that anything can be made dramatic. For "drama," the narrator details a time she returned to the cottage years later, when Allen, their neighbor, had died, to pay her respects to his widow. She remembers that their pool was still covered in black plastic, and some crocuses were trying, but failing, to push up through the snow in the front garden of what had been her house.
The narrator says that she remembers only the snow of that winter, and not the snowplow which "seemed always to be there." The omissions are what make the memory one she clings to.
Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 291
The unnamed narrator relates her story as if she is speaking to her former lover about the time they shared together. She recalls details and events from the winter that they lived in the country, providing information in short vignettes, much as if she were paging through an old photo album, occasionally pausing to describe the scenes it contains. She recalls a chipmunk that once entered the house on a load of firewood and ran for the door, and she remembers when they first moved furniture into the house and accidentally scraped a wall, revealing old layers of wallpaper hung by former inhabitants. She remembers the day of the big snow, when her lover went out and shoveled, and unable to find a hat, wore a bath towel that she helped him to twist on his head like a turban. She recalls the visits of friends who told amazing stories of marvelous good luck before their fire. She also remembers the snow, wonderful and silent, beautiful like an enormous field of Queen Anne’s lace.
The narrator divides her attention among memories of that winter, her realization that her lover’s vision of the same events differs from her own, and her account of her return to the place of their happiness when the winter is passed, their relationship ended, and their friend and former neighbor Allen has recently died. She sits with Allen’s wife next door to where she once lived, and they watch the rain outside fill up the black plastic pool cover and spill over onto the concrete that surrounds it.
She surmises that the story all comes down to the barest outlines: love found and love lost, with the love in this case symbolized by snow.