One of the most obvious uses of nature in the short story The Charm is its role in the setting of the mood through the descriptions of the events that Um Safi takes part in. When recalling her wedding day, she remembers the courtyard as being "filled with festively dressed guests, the lemon and bitter orange trees decorated with lighted lanterns." The bright colors and the light contribute to the memory which she looks fondly upon. Whether that's how it actually happened, she remembers her wedding that day in a positive outlook and nature's vibrant colors attest to that. The next time the weather is depicted, Um Safi is on her roof and she is greeted with a less attractive scene. The night is described as "Rain poured down. The night was full of darkness and foreboding." The darkness and unwelcome rain is a representation for the darkness that has clouded Um Safi's mind as well as the evil that was going to be committed on top of the roof.
As well as developing the mood, nature subtly relates to the development of the character. Only two important events...
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...e, there are also similes used to describe her children such as her "young men now as straight and tall as palm trees" and "five young girls... as beautiful as the moon." These provide a unique insight into how prosperous their marriage had been after twenty-five years and explains why she feels betrayed in the wake of her husband's unfaithfulness.
In The Charm, nature is extensively used for a variety of purposes including setting the mood through depictions of important events, development of the main character, and as a way to provide the audience with a set of symbols that foreshadow the storyline. The natural symbols are very important for a deeper understanding of the story, but they are used in such a way that the theme can be revealed without a complete understanding of them. With the use of nature in this way, The Charm becomes a charming story to read.
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