Thursday, 16 March 2017

Rain And Silence

Poul Anderson, World Without Stars (New York, 1966), Chapter IX.

"...I was the sentry when the Shkil arrived. The galaxy was hidden in a slow, hot rain..." (p. 58)

The galaxy is God to Ya-Kela's people. Their enemies arrive when the galaxy is hidden.

When there is tension between the narrator, Captain Argens, and the Shkil spokesman:

"We faced each other, he and I, while the rain came down louder." (p. 61)

When one of Argen's men suggests that the Shkil might mean well despite their manners:

"'Sure,' I said. 'They may.' The rain gurgled as it fell onto soaked earth." (p. 62)

When Argens, in radio contact with Valland who is with Ya-Kela, becomes concerned for Valland's safety:

"'Hugh!' I cried. 'Hugh, are you there?'
"The rain had stopped, and silence grew thick in the hut." (p. 63)

This is our old friend, the Pathetic Fallacy. Rain suggests an approaching threat - and silence suggests that whatever had been threatened has arrived. Anderson's use of this literary device, as imperceptible as his use of English grammar, affects his readers whether or not they are aware of it.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Alas, most times I kind of overlook Poul Anderson's use of the pathetic fallacy. I know I need to pay more attention to such details!