Snow Notes Part I

These are my notes for Orhan Pamuk’s novel Snow. They aren’t a formal argument or review, but I find Snow to be such a complex novel that I need to take fairly extensive notes.

Silence of Snow-this is the “feeling” or maybe the state of being described by the author when journeying to Kars from Istanbul. This is a metaphor for the journey continuing East from Europe, then Istanbul, then further East to Kars…So far it seems to be another world from “Europe” or even Istanbul…Though I imagine this distinction will be problematized as the novel progresses.

Ka’s German coat also provides some insight. It is described as causing shame and disquiet while paradoxically providing a sense of security…so Ka’s position as “Europeanized” is both shameful and disquieting and gives him a sense of security. Quiet a paradox, that seems to represent the “Europeanized” intellectual…Maybe this will also be problematized and deconstructed.

The feeling Ka describes by the silence of snow intensifies as he travels further East to Kars from Erzurum. Thus the metaphor of Ka’s predicament as “Europeanized” intensifies as he symbolically travels further East. Yet Ka doesn’t initially have this thought in his mind. For him it is a journey back to the “innocence” of the past…taking note that he is from Istanbul, but has to go symbolically further East to Kars for this journey back to the innocence of his past. The implication in Ka’s mind is that Istanbul has changed and lost its innocence as it became “Europeanized,” and Kars, in Ka’s mind, has not. This journey back to “Eastern, pre-Westernization innocence” is probably going to be deconstructed and problematized.

So really we have two things going on here. First is the predicament of the “westernized” intellectual in Turkey. Second is the journey back to a mythical (I assume) innocence of “pre-Westernization.” I anticipate that both will be deconstructed and problematized by Pamuk.

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