The Symbolism Of Absence In Ann Beattie's Snow

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Being away from a person or place for a period of time causes differing underlining emotions in a person, whether the feelings are good or bad. Absence, sometimes, creates a sense of loneliness, regretfulness, or longing for the past. Ann Beattie’s short story, “Snow” reveals the emotions of the narrator as she reminisces on her past life. A central theme of absence is prevalent throughout the short story, which is conveyed to the readers through the use of symbolism. Throughout the story, the narrator hints towards smaller instances that symbolize the central theme of the story—absence or the loss of love. The recollection of painting over the wallpaper in which the narrator says, “I thought of the bits of grapes that remained underneath and imagined the vine popping through, the way some plants can tenaciously push through anything” (Beattie 108) symbolizes how their love was unable to…show more content…
Snow serves as a symbol of the love the couple once shared together. The narrator explains the night of the “big snow”, “Remember the night, out on the lawn, knee-deep in snow, chins pointed to the sky as the wind whirled down all that whiteness?” (108) which is a symbol of the climax of the love and happiness shared between the two lovers. However, the narrator uses the idea of snow once again, “just a few dots of white, no field of snow” (109) to contrast the previous image. The few dots of white symbolize the absence or dwindling of love and affection that was once shared in the house the narrator passes by. Similarly to how snow falls and then eventually melts away, the love that grew within the couple eventually melted away as well. In the last few remarks of the story, a snowplow is mentioned, “the snowplow that seems always to be there, scraping snow off” (109). Beattie chooses to end the story with the final symbol of snow once again as if to say the love was scrapped away, leaving behind nothing— true
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