Nick Ripatrazone brings an in-depth and very excellent close reading and analysis of William Gass’s “The Pedersen Kid” at Quarterly Conversation: “The word snow—and its variations—appears 181 times within the 79 pages of “The Pedersen Kid.” The repetition transfers snow from word to thing: snow is overwhelming and smothering, equal parts plot, character, and theme. The word appears in the second sentence, and it completes the initial thought of the story. It is a Faulknerian convention, a trope in the tradition of adventure novels. Snow is omniscient but transient, gone come spring.”
Now the horse was quiet and we were breathing careful and if the wind had picked up we couldn’t hear it or any snow it drove. It was warmer in the barn and the little light there was was soft on hay and wood. We were safe from the sun and it felt good to use the eyes on quiet tools and leather. I leaned like Hans against the wall and put my gun in my belt. It felt good to have emptied that hand. My face burned and I was very drowsy. I could dig a hole in the hay. Even if there were rats, I would sleep with them in it. Everything was still in the barn. Tools and harness hung from the walls, and pails and bags and burlap rested on the floor. Nothing shifted in the straw or moved in hay. The horse stood easy. And Hans and I rested up against the wall, Hans sucking in his breath and holding it, and we waited for Pa, who didn’t make a sound. Only the line of sun that snuck under him and lay along the floor and came up white and dangerous to the pail seemed a living thing.
– from ‘The Pedersen Kid’ in In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, pg. 60