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Weather (incomplete draft)

(INCOMPLETE BLOG POST)

Lodge describes weather in literature as:

  • “…literary interest in the individual self, in states of feeling that affect and are affected by our perceptions of the external world” (Lodge, p 85). A character’s emotions may be displayed through the environment around them. 
  • “..weather affects our moods” (Lodge, p 85). Lodge mentions within the chapter discussing weather that an individual being moved by the weather is called:  “..pathetic fallacy, projection of human emotion phenomena in the natural world.” p 85
  • “But used with intelligence and discretion it is a rhetorical device capable of moving and powerful effects..” p 85.
  • “…is a precise analogy for the heroine’s feelings.” p 86

Paradise of the Blind

Intro

Within Paradise of the Blind, Huong utilizes weather as an element in order to impact the main character in a certain manner. The environment around Hang is a staple companion throughout the book. Readers are able to understand how Hang feels in a situation by identifying the tone that nature projects within the story. Additionally, the pathetic fallacy plays as an important factor as the weather causes Hang to express a certain emotion.

At the beginning of the novel, the initial setting is described to have an “icy blue sky” and “not a speck of green” meaning it was winter or late fall. After reading the chapter, readers are able to infer that the purpose of describing the weather may be to explain the main character’s emotional condition. Hang has received a telegram to visit her Uncle and is reminded that her vacation was over. Death is portrayed as brown earth and trees in the book to represent the fact that her joy of vacation was coming to an end, and that the Uncle she dislikes has reappeared in her life.

The instance of the pathetic fallacy can be seen as Hang experiences the cold weather in Russia. Before being harassed by a drunk elderly man, Hang’s friend comes by and helps her. Hang states that “snowflakes pierced the night with a thousand needlelike points” and “Like a tide held back too long, a wave of sadness, a feeling of humiliation and homesickness, washed over me.” After almost harassed, the snow acts as a tipping point to bring forth the bottled emotions Hang feels. The snow and the friend’s Uncle’s actions were a foreign sight to Hang, and it brings out her urge to go home and the shame she felt of the incident.

 


3 Comments

  1. sbnalsaadi says:

    I agree with you that weather plays a crucial role within a novel. I just wanted to bring up the point that the rhetorical device of metonymy is evident with relation to weather. Just like the weather expresses a character’s emotions, the emotions of a character can trigger the weather as well to create drama. I particularly enjoyed your analysis of the snowflakes, to me it seemed as if the weather described foreshadowing upcoming events in the novel, overall helping set the tone and mood.

  2. eydnerum1 says:

    This is a intriguing analysis, I commend you for the way you have applied a character’s emotions to the weather described in the book. Another lens one could have seen this from is the connection weather and culture or weather and location. For example, when you discuss the weather in the beginning of your analysis, you talk about “icy blue sky”, this can also be seen as the way the character views the culture of people she is going to encounter or the location she is in. Since the character is venturing to a popular part of Russia, she is well aware that Russians most likely have blue eyes and since this novel is written in the context of the Cold War, it could be interpreted that the that is the reason the author had described the weather in this way.

  3. shafiatalat says:

    I think you did an excellent job in explaining the importance of weather in this novel and how it adds to the overall meaning! In fact, I never really payed attention to how the author can describe the surroundings to emphasize feelings and emotions. One point that I found really interesting is how the description of autumn symbolizes the end of her joyful vacation.
    When analyzing this point from a feminist perspective, it can be inferred that although Hang is far away from her male relatives, patriarchy is still embedded in her culture. This is probably why she thought her joyful vacation was ending becasue she knew that that even though it’s just a telegram, she’s somehow going to meet him and abide by his orders.

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