Snow (by Julia Alvarez)Summary

Topics: Nuclear weapon, Nuclear fallout, Civil defense Pages: 1 (303 words) Published: October 24, 2011
There was a girl called Yolanda who moved with her family to New York. They rented a small apartment near a Catholic school, taught by the Sisters of Charity, hefty women in long black gowns and bonnets that made them look like dolls in mourning. The teacher she particularly liked was Sister Zoe, her fourth grade teacher. As Yolanda was the only immigrant in her class, she was put in a special seat in the row first by the window, so Sister Zoe could tutor her without disturbing the other children. Yolanda had to learn the words: Laundromat, cornflakes, subway and snow. Soon Yolanda learned enough English to understand that holocaust was in the air. Sister Zoe explained to a wide-eyed classroom what was happening in Cuba. Russian missiles were being assembled, trained supposedly on New York.

(At school, they had air-raid drills: a bell would make a sudden noise and they would file into a hall, fall to floor, cover their heads and imagine their hair falling out)

At home, Yolanda and her family prayed for world peace. She heard new vocabulary: nuclear bomb, radioactive fallout and bomb shelter. Sister Zoe explained how it would happen. She drew a mushroom on the blackboard and dotted a flurry of chalk marks for the dusty fallout that would kill them. The months grew cold, and one morning when Yolanda was looking out of the window, she saw dots in the air as the ones Sister Zoe had drawn. Yolanda screamed bomb and a few girls began to cry. But Sister Zoe laughed and said that it was snow. Yolanda looked the snow carefully. She had heard about the snow but she had never seen it before. So Sister Zoe explained that each flake was different like a person, irreplaceable and beautiful.
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