Smilla's Sense of Snow Historical Context

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Understanding the cultural and historical relationship between Greenland and Denmark is essential for an understanding of Smilla's Sense of Snow. Although Denmark had granted Greenland Home Rule in 1979, a decade before Høeg began writing his novel, the events leading to this political decision as well as the aftermath of the Home Rule act deeply inform the events of the novel.

People have lived on the island of Greenland for about four thousand years. The first Europeans reached Greenland about 985 CE, when Norwegians settled in two farming colonies. For unknown reasons, these colonies died out. Speculation among scientists suggests that disease or climatic catastrophe may have caused the demise of the Norwegian colonies, a tantalizing link to Høeg's concept of "neocatastrophism." Indeed, Høeg's use of a giant meteorite as a plot device hints at the possibility of climatic change, while his...

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This section contains 665 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Smilla's Sense of Snow Study Guide
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Smilla's Sense of Snow from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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