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Characterization in Silent Snow Secret Snow Conrad Aikens short story Silent Snow Secret Snow is an extraordinary example of how a writer can use various literary techniques to lead the reader to a better understanding of the storys young protagonist Paul Haslemans character Instead of just merely telling a story about the twelve year old boys descent into madness Aiken allows the reader to follow the stages of Pauls downward spiral from sanity to occasional detachment and ultimately into complete alienation from reality The story is narrated from Pauls point-of-view and this perspective ensures that the authors stream of consciousness style will fully engage and affect the reader on a personal level The first indication of Pauls mental disturbance is found in his recollection of an intense memory of an event that occurred several days before Paul had the impression that snow had fallen because the usual sounds of the postmans footsteps on his early morning rounds are suddenly softer and muffled as if pillowed by a fresh blanket of snow When he got up and peered out the window the cobblestones outside his house were bare Paul recalls that the sound of the postmans footsteps grow less and less distinct each day and are only audible as the postman draws closer and closer to the Haslemans house Every morning Paul looks out the window to repeatedly discover no snow had fallen Yet in his own mind he is mysteriously aware of a secret snow that signifies the growing detachment from the real world The desire for Paul to have a secret place of refuge leads him to believe that it is a necessity for him to keep the knowledge of the snow to himself The story first begins in the setting of Mrs Buells geography class Aiken combines Pauls inner monologue with brief interruptions from Mrs Buells lesson For the most part Paul ignores her but at one point Mrs Buell stops to tell
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