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Literary Critique of Pushkin's 'The Snow Storm'
"The Snow Storm" – Aleksandr Pushkin
Russia's story tellers have always sought to comment on the ills of their society, to present the plight of the downtrodden and understand the spiritual nature of man and the meaning of life. Here is Pushkin writing about the long arms of love and the rewards of filial piety.
Pushkin, known more as a poet than a writer of prose, nevertheless, wrote some great stories. "The Snow Storm" has a "Rome and Juliet" feel: lovers go against the wishes of their parents, attempt to elope and get lost in a snowstorm. Maria Petrovna turns back in time, urged by love for her parents, and daunted by the insecurities of the unknown that awaits her in a life with her lover. Vladimir gets thoroughly lost in the unrelenting blizzard and finding no sign of Maria at the place they're supposed to meet, joins the army again.
Short Story Writer Pushkin Does the Unexpected
Maria falls ill and when in her delirium, she babbles about her lover, her parents, believing that only he can cure her, send him an invitation to marry their daughter. But Vladimir scorns the invitation. "He informed them that he would never set foot in their house again, and begged them to forget an unhappy creature whose only hope was death."
At this point the reader thinks the story should end, but no, Maria recovers and three years later, Colonel Bourmin asks for her hand and at the same time divulges a secret to Maria: he is already married, but does not know who or where his wife is.
And he relates to her the "wicked prank" he had played four years ago on an abandoned bride in a snowstorm. Coming upon a light, he discovered it was a church and was ushered in by people who believed him to be the bridegroom. The bride had just recovered from a fainting fit on being stood up by her husband-to-be. The place was dimly lit and the ceremony was performed, but when it was time to kiss the bride, she realised he was not her lover and fainted again.
The Twist in the Short Story
In a twist that reminds the reader of the stories of O. Henry, Maria reveals that it was she who was the bride.
Pushkin is truly a great spinner of tales. As soon as Bourmin mentions the very same snow storm in the year 1812, the reader begins to wonder about the connection between the two events. This is where this remarkable story ends – with Bourmin falling at his bride's feet.
"The Snow Storm" is a beautiful tale, a surprising tale.
Great Short Stories of the World
ISBN 0 600 01617 X
Publisher: The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, 1976
Original Edition published in 1925 by William Heinemann Ltd.