Just as all roads lead back to home, the protagonist exhibits that everyone will eventually become manifestations of the society it is born within. In this excerpt, the author uses the strong allegory of the protagonist plummeting down the slopes and skiing towards the inevitable end of conforming towards mankind and society. Although the protagonist’s gender isn’t explicit, we can assume that it’s a girl due to its unambiguous sub theme of feminine repression. The author presents the protagonists struggle in two distinct parts: the struggle to conform and the inevitable realization and acceptance of her fate.
The author is able to do skilfully do so with a myriad of literary devices and extremely significant allegories. In the beginning, the protagonist is still struggling against the implications of society and is unwilling to accept her fate. The monotony of her “pale” life is emphasized by the repetition alliteration of “hill after…hill” and “great grey eye”. This shows the boring reoccurrence in the protagonist’s life and is constantly being overshadowed and judged by the watchful eye of society.
Additionally, the protagonist is having an internal battle with doing what she innately feels is right against becoming what she knows everyone else wants her to transform into. Therefore, she has an “interior voice” that is persistently “nagging” her “not to be a fool” and conform and lose herself and “save [her] skin”. Obviously, she has fought hard to persist as her authentic self and is bitter about giving up who she really is. She feels like she has lost her sense of self and is no longer an individual, but merely “camouflaged” amongst everyone else as a product of society.
The long sentence structure in the second paragraph of the excerpt displays that there was a very long and meticulous thought process about her present situation. She is “bordering” on the edge of a life changing decision. She has to decide – should she “kill [her true] self”, or should she resist the temptations of society? She is representing man’s struggle against oneself – the hardest battle to. However, she finally overcomes her inner battles and comes to realize that it is in her best interest to abide to society’s expectations.
Henceforth, she tries to “measure the distance” and calculate how much of herself she will have to lose in the process. Buddy is a representation of society and the word is also slang for friend. “His…folded” “arms” signifying his lack of approval and his natural masculine instinct to repress femininity. As a result, we can understand the extent upon which female repression has been engrained into society and social stigma. Such is the product of a society filled with conformists and a lack of individuality – “numb, brown… inconsequential” and boring beings.
The next paragraph accentuates her defeatist attitude as the excerpt inches to the climax of the plot and has resolved to finally conform to the ‘American dream’ and fit into the mould society cast for her. Inevitably, she “aim[s] straight down” as she realizes that despite her best efforts at resistance, it is all to no avail. Once again, the short sentence structure is the implicit sign of the distinct change of internal character into one that has finally decided to join and become a part of society. Subsequent to the protagonist’s “descen[t]” into society, she “plummet[s]” herself straight into the heart of the situation.
Nevertheless, even though she has physically committed herself he is still mentally “suspended” and trapped between what she wants and who she is. As a result, she represses those thoughts from “r[ising] higher”. This is the pivotal point upon which she consigns herself to follow society’s expectations because she understands that without social rules and stigma, “the world would not exist” and be able to function properly. Her “answering point in…[her] body” instinctually gravitates “towards” following social norms because despite the struggle against it, everyone will eventually cave to the expectations of others.
She has become “inflate[d]” by the “inrush” of the external pressures of being part of a society . She realizes that she is finally experiencing the typical emotions, even though she feels removed from the “smiles” and “what it is [supposed to feel like] to be happy”. In spite of that, she feels “doubleness” as if it is not really herself going through the motions – she doesn’t feel true to herself and who she really is but simply sees a reflection of her figure that she can no longer recognise.
On her way “hurtling” down, she has flashes of her “own past” that “recede[s]” and she has to make a decision between the light of the “white sun” and the darkness of an endless “dark tunnel”. Ultimately, she focuses on the “bright point at the end” of the tunnel and becomes a small “pebble” in the “bottom of [a big] well”, which is an analogy to her small and insignificant self in a world filled with billions of people. Her metamorphosis is paralleled to that of a rebirth into her new life.
She has chosen the light and she is being christened into her new life as an innocent “sweet baby” that is being reborn again from “it’s mother’s belly”. All throughout this process “Buddy” and the “other faces” of society watchfully gaze and “h[a]ng over” her to ensure complete control. Gradually, she is transformed by the “strokes of [a] grandmother’s wand” creating a fairytale element to her change. The “familiar voice” of her conscience reminds her that she was doing “fine” by herself until “man[kind] stepped into her path” and created the platonic change within her.
Society has already taken it upon themselves to “unfasten [her] bindings” of her previous ‘life’ and releasing her of her previous sins of not conforming. The “lodge fence” that blocks her way is a symbol of the white picket fence, which is a representation of the American Dream. She is finally being trapped into society’s expectations of what she should become. Yet she is still treated as an outsider and isn’t trusted and treated like an enemy with a “concealed weapon”. In the end, the light triumphs the dark and society overcomes her.
The rising of the white sun shining in the sky displays her birth and final decision to conform to society. Even though she tries to challenge and return to her old self, she is unable to escape. Not only is she restricted by society itself but herself as well. She is “stuck” as society now has full reign over her. Thus, society and lack of freedom prevail and it’s triumph is evident in the “final smile”. In conclusion, the excerpt uses skiing as an allegory for mankind’s eventual and inevitable decline into conformity towards the American dream.
There is no place in society for people who do not follow social rules and expectations. The protagonist is assumed to be a woman due to the stigma of females repressed role in society. She begins with the struggle between light and dark and the battle between being true to oneself and taking the easier path and following the well-worn road that society has taken. Later on, she understands and realizes that it is inevitable and ultimately conforms. Not matter how hard we may try to contend society, it will always prevail and have the power to manipulate us.