The Snow-Storm

The Snow-Storm

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind’s masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer’s sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

Summary of The Snow-Storm

  • Popularity of “The Snow-Storm”: This poem was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a renowned poet, philosopher, and an essayist. The Snow-Strom is a remarkable literary piece famous for its themes of nature and mankind. It was first published in 1856. The poem revolves around the grand event of a snowstorm. It illustrates how the storm limits healthy activities of people. Its popularity, however, lies in that it deals with the phenomenon of life during difficult times.
  • “The Snow-Storm”, As a Representative of Natural Beauty: The poet details grand arrival and noticeable departure of the snowstorm. The magnificent arrival of the storm is described as if an army is going to have a victorious walk over the field. The speaker states how it hinders people from continuing the normal activities of their lives. It delays the postman’s feet, shuts the friends’ visits, and stops the travelers. Later, the exalted speaker calls everyone to come and appreciate the striking art of nature. To him, the snowstorm is a genius artist, capable of reshaping the historical structures.
  • Major Themes in “The Snow-Storm”: Power of nature and beauty are the major themes of this poem. The poet describes two things in it; difficulties people face in the snowy weather and the serenity they feel while looking at the art left on the landmarks after a snowstorm. He discusses the devastating qualities of a snowstorm and also talks about its fanciful, elegant, and attractive attributes. He has actually used the snowstorm as a symbol of obstacles and challenges in life that do not last forever.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “The Snow-Storm”

Literary devices are tools that enable the writers to present their ideas, emotions, and feelings by using persuasive language. Ralph Waldo Emerson has employed some literary devices in this poem to show the power of nature. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought or clause that does not come to an end at a line break; instead, it moves over to the next line. For example,

“Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.”

  1. Symbolism: Symbolism is a use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities, by giving them symbolic meanings different from their literal meanings. The verse “The frolic architecture of the snow” symbolizes the power of nature. Snowstorm symbolizes the problem we face in life.
  2. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “Announced by all the trumpets of the sky”, “Round every windward stake, or tree, or door” and “Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art.”
  3. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, such as the sound of /o/ in “The frolic architecture of the snow” and the sounds of /a/ and /o/ in “So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he”.
  4. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /l/ in “Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall” and the sound of /r/ in “Round every windward stake, or tree, or door”.
  5. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick successions such as the sound of /t/ in “A tapering turret overtops the work” and the sound of /s/ in “To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone”.
  6. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects different in nature. Snowstorm is the metaphor for obstacles, sufferings, and struggles in life, as it puts full stops on all activities of life.
  7. Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word, phrase, or an expression. For example, the word ‘farmer’s’ is repeated in the second stanza of the poem to emphasize his point.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “The Snow-Storm”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic device comprising verses. There are two long stanzas in this poem.
  2. Free Verse: Free verse is a type of poetry that does not contain patterns of rhyme or meter. This is a free-verse poem with no strict rhyme or meter.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below can be used to admire nature. These could also be used for children to teach them about objects of nature.

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.”