Not Just April Showers: Story-Altering Storms in Literature

Not Just April Showers: Story-Altering Storms in Literature

April showers may bring May flowers, but we think springtime rain storms are worth discussing in their own right. Literature is full of storms that alter the course of a novel’s plot, for better or for worse. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most memorable literary storms. Grab your umbrella and rain boots and get reading!

The Tempest

In the Bard’s famous play, a storm causes a shipwreck. Readers learn that the disaster isn’t a coincidence.

The Storm: A tempest summoned by the sorcerer Prospero

The Damage: A shipwreck

Memorable Quote: “The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch, But that the sea, mounting to the welkin’s cheek, Dashes the fire out.”

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel tells the story of Janie Crawford in vivid, shining prose. Readers will watch Janie learn and grow through her teenage years and into adulthood.

The Storm: A hurricane in Florida’s Everglades

The Damage: Devastating flooding and the breakdown of Janie’s marriage

Memorable Quote: “The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time. They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.”

Life of Pi

In Life of Pi, Yann Martel puts readers in an unusual predicament. After a storm sinks a ship, readers find themselves on a lifeboat with Pi and a tiger named Richard Parker.

The Storm: A storm over the Pacific

The Damage: The ship Pi was on sinks, leaving Pi on a lifeboat with a tiger

Memorable Quote: “I was alone and orphaned, in the middle of the Pacific, hanging on to an oar, an adult tiger in front of me, sharks beneath me, a storm raging about me. Had I considered my prospects in the light of reason, I surely would have given up and let go of the oar, hoping that I might drown before being eaten.”

Salvage the Bones

In Salvage the Bones, author Jesmyn Ward sets her novel in the days surrounding a real life storm: Hurricane Katrina. Ward herself lives in coastal Mississippi and won a National Book Award for her portrayal of its people and struggles.

The Storm: Hurricane Katrina approaches the coast of Mississippi

The Damage: Nearly unimaginable loss and suffering

Memorable Quote: “[Katrina’s] chariot was a storm so great and black the Greeks would say it was harnessed to dragons. She was the murderous mother who cut us to the bone but left us alive, left us naked and bewildered as wrinkled newborn babies, as blind puppies, as sun-starved newly hatched baby snakes. She left us a dark Gulf and salt burned land. She left us to crawl. She left us to salvage.”

Shutter Island

Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island takes readers to an island in 1954 where something very scary is happening at the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Tensions rise as a hurricane begins moving closer and closer.

The Storm: A hurricane on Shutter Island

The Damage: High winds and heavy rains make a bad situation even worse

Memorable Quote: “An entire tree swept past the door, upside down, its roots sprouting upward like horns. ‘You see that?’ ‘Yeah. It’s gonna wake up in the middle of the ocean, say, ‘Wait a second. This isn’t right.’”

Nights in Rodanthe

Things get stormy in this romantic tale from Nicholas Sparks, and bad weather just might nudge two lovebirds together.

The Storm: A storm on the coast of North Carolina

The Damage: Rainy weather and blossoming love

Memorable Quote: “Standing in the pouring rain, she felt the pull of the person he was, and the person she realized she wanted to be.”

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

If you’re like us, you grew up wishing meatballs would fall from the sky for dinner. Relive those childhood wishes with Judi Barrett’s childhood classic.

The Storm: Food falls from the sky in Chewandswallow

The Damage: Residents have food to eat, but unexpected inconveniences crop up

Memorable Quote: “Dinner one night consisted of lamb chops, becoming heavy at times, with occasional ketchup. Periods of peas and baked potatoes were followed by gradual clearing, with a wonderful Jell-O setting in the west.”

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