How does nature shape this novel?

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Qu. How does nature shape this novel?

The key way in which nature shapes this novel, is through the reoccurring theme of snow. The snow symbolises the Islanders moral debates with deciding what is right and what is wrong. This is demonstrated in the following quote-

‘When they looked out into the whiteness of the world the wind flung it sharply at their narrowed eyes and foreshortened their view of everything.’ I think this shows how the Islanders attempt to discover truth, (when they look out), only to find themselves faced with even more questions to ask themselves and no answers. In this way, snow hides the truth of the world.

 I think the latter part of the quote relates to the intolerance of the Island, called the ‘Curse of the Island’. The people of the Island are small-minded and judgemental, they cannot see through the outer exterior, to the inner person. They narrow their eyes, and try to forget the rest of the world exists. In this way, I think the snow represents the Islands view of the Japanese, and the blanket of snow cannot be lifted to discover the truth, which lies underneath.

Snow can also unite the characters of the novel. This happens when Ishmael and Hatsue meet together during Chapter 22, due to Hatsue’s car breaking down in the snow. This forces Ishmael to spend time with Hatsue and remind himself of his love for Hatsue and how he ‘taught himself to forget it as best he could’. Toward the end of the chapter, Ishmael realises ‘there had been circumstances then and there were circumstances now; there were things beyond anyone’s control’. I think this perfectly sums up how snow and nature are beyond human control.  

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An additional way, in which snow unites characters, is during chapter 22, when the snow falls on all the land and makes the borders of land ‘indistinguishable’. This means that the snow has made everyone equal, resulting in no prejudice or discrimination. This is demonstrated in this quote- ‘the world was one world’, as all has been combined as one due to nature. The snow shows it is more powerful than humanity, as it controls everything, this is demonstrated in this quote, ‘All human claims to the landscape were superseded, made null and void by the snow.’ This shows that ...

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