The Small Rain

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“The Small Rain” by Thomas Pynchon is an ironic short story that describes a hurricane cleanup and rescue from the point of view of a lazy soldier by the name of Nathan Levine. Many different literary techniques are used very often throughout the story, and there are many underlying themes and symbolism that help give the story meaning. Nathan “Lardass” Levine is described as insensitive and lazy which makes it easy for the reader to connect with him, making the story very entertaining. Surprisingly, the short story is easy to follow and understand which is unlike many of the other stories Pynchon has written. According to an article from, “The Small Rain” is actually based on a first-hand description of a hurricane rescue operation.…show more content…
The title itself is ironic. “The Small Rain” is ironic because the reason Nathan’s battalion, the 131st Signal Battalion, is summoned is to help hurricane victims in a small village called Creole, which was totally annihilated by the storm. The title makes it seem like it is just a drizzle that affected no one when in reality 250 people are missing and the town is now considered a disaster area. Another example of irony is Levine himself. He has the highest IQ in the battalion, but he is the laziest and crudest soldier. Although Nathan is the main character, his identity is not really revealed to the reader. Also, he is a soldier, which is a very brave and heroic job, but Nathan is in no way a hero (Chambers…show more content…
Also, the use of adjectives, similes, and personification are very important to the story. The conversations between the soldiers are short, crude, and filled with dirty jokes and insults. They speak what is on their mind, including Nathan. He says whatever he wants to whoever he wants, including the lieutenant. Surprisingly, he is very cunning and flirty, which helps him pickup “little Buttercup.” Starting in the beginning of the short story, everything is described in great detail. “The gray sun on the gray swamp” sets a depressing and eerie tone (47). Then one man is described hanging from a barbed wire fence “like a foolish balloon… until they touched it and it popped, hissed, and collapsed” (47). This gives the reader a gruesome and vivid account of what Nathan and the others saw, proving that it was definitely not a “small rain.” The language and techniques used in the story provide the reader with great insight on how the characters interact and what they

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