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An Understanding of Seeking New Thrills in Snow by Charles Baxter

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In the book “Snow” by Charles Baxter, the narrator Russel went to his brother Ben’s room and Ben said that they were going to go see a car that had gone through the ice at Five Oaks Lake. Russel said that his parents wouldn’t let them so his brother, Ben lied to their parents and said that they were going to Navarre’s house. The parents were doubtful but still let them go so they head off to the lake, but before they went to the lake they went to pick up Stephanie, Ben’s girlfriend. In the story when Russel said “I want to feel cold, so cold that the cold itself became permanently interesting” I believe that statement symbolizes that he is in an awkward middle stage of leaving behind childhood but not yet being an “adult”. That shows that he is in that awkward middle stage because he feels like he is becoming a man and wants to understand why the older kids are so fixated on getting thrills so when he sticks his arm in the snow it symbolizes him going through the transformation of becoming a man, but since he is still a child and not yet a man he immediately retreats into his house warm and cozy house at the first sign of discomfort that he feels.

One instance that shows him trying to understand the significance of getting a thrill that all the older kids seek is when Stephanie said “Well, either they know or they don’t. Someone’s down there or not, right?” and Ben replied “Maybe they don’t know. Maybe there’s a dead body in the backseat of that car. Or in the trunk.” After Stephanie then replied, “Oh no,” and backed away. Ben then said “I was just teasing you,” Stephanie then replied, “Why did you lie to me?” and Ben said, “I just wanted to give you a thrill.” This part of the passage shows that he is trying to understand what the point of a thrill is because when Stephanie had asked if anyone got hurt Russell had said no because their father earlier told them that everyone had escaped the car safely but his brother said “Maybe.” implying that there is a dead body in the car. After he admitted that he was joking saying that he just wanted to give her a thrill. This confused Russel why his brother had misled her to believe that there was a dead body in the car when they had already known the truth.

Another moment of Russel trying to understand the significance of a thrill is when his brother Russel was driving on the lake and Russell thought “He was having a thrill and soon would give Stephanie another thrill by driving her home across ice that might break at any time. Thrills did it, whatever it was. Thrills that led to other thrills.”

This also really confused Russel because he couldn’t understand why they would do something in such bad judgment and things that were so obviously unsmart such as doing 360s on the ice in his car which made him believed it was might just be “ a powerful antidote for boredom.”

Lastly, another moment of Russel trying to grasp an understanding of seeking new thrills is when Stephanie asked she could get Russel’s brother’s attention and he replied “take your shoes off” so she did. He then asked “ How does it feel?” she then said “ You’ll know in a few years.” this comment of her’s is implying the things he will understand later in his teen years such as the desperation you feel during a one-sided love, or the feeling of needing to find new thrill and having bad teen judgment. But because Russel is still nearing the end of his childhood so that statement goes over his head and he doesn’t think much of it.

This has been a compilation of the reasons why I believe that when Russel said ”I want to feel cold, so cold that the cold itself became permanently interesting” it is a metaphor for Russell trying to understand the mindset of a teenager and the desire for a new thrill. 

In conclusion, I believe that when Russel stuck his hand in the snow and said ”I want to feel cold, so cold that the cold itself became permanently interesting” he was putting his best effort to emulate what he had learned from his brother about being a teen and the desired thrills.

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An Understanding Of Seeking New Thrills In Snow By Charles Baxter. (2021, Jun 09). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from
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