My Name is Red

My Name is Red

Snow Symbol Icon

During the first half of the book, snow is falling over Istanbul, which creates an atmosphere of mystery and melancholy. Since snow is not common in Istanbul, its presence adds to the impression that the events of the novel are unusual, with a supernatural edge. The snow is particularly meaningful to Black, who is returning to the city for the first time in 12 years. Walking through the streets, Black notes that there have been many changes since he left, leaving him feel like a stranger in his own home. The snow intensifies this feeling, making it seem as if there are secrets lying beneath its surface. Snow is also associated with death; the two dervishes freeze to death in a snowstorm, and when Enishte dies his soul passes through “mountains of snow and ice” as he ascends to the afterlife. At other points in the novel, snow is linked to the theme of innocence. Unlike humans, who are portrayed as never being wholly innocent, snow is pure in an absolute sense, as emphasized when the murderer claims: “You cannot claim with any conviction that you’re as innocent as freshly fallen snow.” Overall, therefore, snow is closely tied to the murder mystery plot. It creates a dramatic, suspenseful setting within which the murders take place, and amplifies the melancholy permanence of the murder victims’ deaths. At the same time, it highlights the theme of innocence in a somewhat ironic way; while Istanbul is covered in a veneer of purity provided by the snow, the murderer argues that Istanbul is a crime-ridden place and that none of its inhabitants are truly innocent.

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Snow Symbol Timeline in My Name is Red

The timeline below shows where the symbol Snow appears in My Name is Red. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...that many of his friends have died. He visits his mother’s grave while it is snowing and cries, though he stops when he sees a black dog standing near him. Black... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Black watches the snow falling and sees a ship coming in. He listens to the sounds of the city... (full context)
Chapter 4: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...and that the Erzurumis will raid his house. It is cold, and at night the snow-covered streets are completely dark. He thinks he sees a ghost, and he listens to the... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...trace of his “style” remains by which he could be identified. He concludes that the snow covering the spot means Allah is on his side. (full context)
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
It was snowing on the night of the murder. The murderer told Elegant that he had been hiding... (full context)
Chapter 9: I, Shekure
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Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...they married. Tonight, Shekure mixes a drink for her father; he asks if it is snowing, and Shekure is suddenly convinced that it is the last snowfall Enishte will ever see. (full context)
Chapter 11: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
The snow falls all night, and Black reads Shekure’s letter over and over again. He dreams that... (full context)
Chapter 17: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...see the state it’s in. Enishte thinks sadly about Elegant, and heads out through the snow-covered streets to the funeral. At the mosque, Enishte embraces Elegant’s brothers and the miniaturists, and... (full context)
Chapter 27: I Am Called Black
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...insists that they do not have sex. Shekure goes home, leaving fading footprints in the snow. (full context)
Chapter 28: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Outside, it is snowing again and the streets are deserted. Enishte says that now that he knows one of... (full context)
Chapter 30: I, Shekure
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
It is snowing hard as Shekure walks home from the House of the Hanged Jew. She believes that... (full context)
Chapter 50: We Two Dervishes
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
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...through being depicted in a painting. In reality, they died in the middle of a snowstorm. Just before death, one of them dreamed that he was the subject of a painting... (full context)