Themes

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The very short story "Snow" packs a couple of key themes into its few words. The first is the nature of storytelling. The narrator says that many of those who came to visit her in her winter cottage told stories, all of which seemed very dramatic; her lover said that anything could be made dramatic if the right things were omitted. That being the case, the narrator struggles to tell her story in the way "you say stories should be told," creating drama from the detail of the black cover on Allen's pool and the crocuses failing to emerge from the snow on the lawn. Ultimately, however, what she remembers is not a clear narrative; she thinks only of the snow when she remembers that winter, and omits to remember the undramatic and unromantic snowplow which "seemed always to be there," something inconvenient to the way the memory has formed itself in the narrator's mind.

Another key theme is that of things not fitting, or working, as the narrator's venture into the country ultimately does not work. It is stated that those who came to visit the young couple told stories around the fire, wanting to be near them, but all seemed sure the adventure would be a failure—as it was. This is symbolized in the narrator's image of crocuses, years later, failing to push through the snow, but we can see instances of it earlier—when they have painted over the grape wallpaper, for example, the narrator keeps thinking of the grapes as if they might "pop" through, indications that the young couple have failed to impose themselves over what the house really is. Likewise, the chipmunk which keeps appearing represents the wildness of the countryside, a place the couple can't really hope to contend with.

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