Sunday, 28 August 2016
Three Features In Two Sentences
"The clouds piled higher in the west, snow-bright on top, blue-black in their depths. The wind piped louder and colder." (p. 393)
This is a mobile scene, clouds and wind heightening. These two sentences display three features that we have already noticed in Poul Anderson's texts:
an appeal to at least three of the senses;
an active role for the wind;
the pathetic fallacy, although I will have to explain the context for this.
We see the clouds mounting, bright above but black below.
We hear the wind loudening.
We also feel the same wind coldening.
It pipes again, like a Greek chorus commenting on the action.
The Pathetic Fallacy
While the clouds are piling higher, the magicians are trying to rescue Valeria Matuchek who meanwhile is on a broomstick flying uncontrollably out of the Solar System. What is about to happen is that, on the one hand, they will successfully reverse her path (good) but, on the other hand, she will now be flying not back to Earth but towards the stick's original destination, the Moon (bad). Thus, only partial success. The skyscape symbolizes this. Brightness is hope but blackness, loudness and cold are continued danger. In Anderson's works, every word and phrase counts.