Study Guide

The White Darkness Man vs. Nature

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Man vs. Nature

Ah, man vs. nature—a classic literary theme. Man's struggle for survival against the elements is perhaps never felt so keenly as in the frozen desert of Antarctica. Even Sym, who finds the snowy landscape beautiful and fascinating, knows enough to be afraid of Mother Nature's deadly force. She seems to sense its hostility from the plane before they even land, and from there it only gets worse. Sym comes thisclose to death at least a half dozen times. She makes it—barely—but, alas, many of her travel companions do not. In The White Darkness, nature stands more than a fighting chance.

Questions About Man vs. Nature

  1. Do you think Victor is respectful toward nature? What about Sym? Do you think these attitudes are connected to their fates in the story?
  2. What do you think of Sym's survival skills? Are you impressed, or could they use some work?
  3. Describe a moment in which Antarctica is something other than hostile (for example, friendly, forgiving, or indifferent) toward Sym or another character. How does this impact your understanding of the setting?

Chew on This

In the battle between man and nature in The White Darkness, nature is the ultimate winner.

In the battle between man and nature in The White Darkness, man is the ultimate winner.

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