This essay describes how "Snow in August", written by Pete Hamill, incorporates the uses of fairy-tale elements in the novel.

Essay by uconn21rmHigh School, 11th gradeA, December 2002

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The novel Snow In August, by Pete Hamill, incorporates many elements commonly found in a fairy tale, first imposed on us at the beginning of the book, which starts off, "Once upon a time..." The first element, advantageous coincidence, can be seen when Michael Devlin is on his way to church. He is battling his way through a blizzard when he hears someone calling him. Michael responds to the hollering man, Rabbi Hirsch, and eventually helps him by turning on the lights for him. From this diversion, Michael learns a little about Jewish culture and begins the relationship between himself and the rabbi that is the backbone of the story. This first meeting sparks the interest in both the rabbi and Michael to learn from each other about different cultures.

Next, Sonny and Jimmy, Michael's closest friends, are adamant in their belief of a secret treasure, the second element, being hidden in the synagogue.

They both insist that Michael look for it when he is teaching the rabbi. This initially serves as incentive for Michael to continue his new friendship with the rabbi, as he is still hesitant about his nature. However, it serves as favorable for Sonny and Jimmy: they think he is merely looking for the treasure, not becoming close friends with the rabbi; and for Michael: he is able to visit the rabbi and talk about many things without the fear of being ridiculed by his friends for being close to a Jew.

A third element found in a fairy tale, magic, plays an important part in revealing information about the rabbi's past, reciting the history of Jewish culture, exploring the old city of Prague, and summoning the powerful Golem. The rabbi tells all of these events, with Michael listening and being transported back to each...