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The Ice Palace

My View of "The Ice Palace"

A young 19-year-old Sally Carrol Happer is a lovely happy girl who lives in a rich family and is surrounded by supporting friends. But she falls in love with a Yankee guy Harry and now has to move to the North. She believes she is ready to give up everything for the sake of love. Before leaving for the North she has a conversation with her friend Clark who tries to talk her out of leaving. Nevertheless she goes with Harry believing she’ll have great future with this guy. Finally she goes back to the South after one not so pleasant event. She was walking there in a snowy and cold place and accidentally got lost in an ice cave. Exactly at that moment she understands that she is born to live another life, she is not a girl from the North so she returns back.

Speaking about the main characters we can single out Sally Carrol and the guy whom she loves – Harry. Sally is a light-minded girl, though it is quite understandable, she is only nineteen and she spends all the time sitting at home, dreaming about traveling and adventures. And she believes the only guy who can give her this life is Harry. She does not pay any attention to the fact that her family and friends are completely against her choice. She believes that cold place will give her everything she desires so much. she does not think about any difficulties she can face and only after having lost in an ice cave she manages to understand that she has nothing to do here, even though she has got Harry. This ice palace and ice happiness turns to be an ice cage for this fragile girl. And that was the last drop for her. She returns back to her probably boring but so usual and so familiar to her life.

Speaking about Harry I can’t say anything that would distinguish him from all the other guys. He makes Sally love him, promising a better life and of course Sally, who’s always ruled by emotions, agrees. Probably he really loves her but he does not provide her with enough support or maybe it is Sally who simply is not strong enough to make her dreams come true.

The main symbol in this story is the ice palace. I think the whole world Sally got into can be called an ice palace. The trees covered with ice, the ground that is always frozen and heaps of snow. This is something that is really different from those things she could observe sitting on a beach in her warm and always sunny place. Seeking for adventures she gets locked up in this fairy place. Having lost in the cave she starts thinking what she actually does here. She is jailed into this ice cage and there is no fairy, no happiness, and no cheerfulness in her life anymore.

In this story the author touches upon many important issues. But I would like to focus on two main conflicts. The first one is confrontation of two groups of people: people from the North and people from the South. That was absolutely unacceptable to Clark to believe his friend Sally can fall in love with a Yankee guy, with someone who is supposed to be an enemy, no matter what kind of person he really is. There can be no love between people who belong to different layers.

And the last problem here is obvious: Sally is very young, she can’t stand her boring life, she dreams of getting out of this town. But after having got everything she was actually seek to, she can stand it neither physically not emotionally. She can get used neither to the weather nor to people who seem to be so new to her. That was a big temptation for her to try something new and she did not want to resist it. On the other hand it was not a mistake, just a good experience for this girl who only starts to live.

(By Luck)

Cultural conflicts in "The Ice Palace".

The story is about Sally Carrol Happer, a young southern woman who is bored with her unchanging environment. She thinks that her friends are got stuck in their every-day routine, in this usual town, in this southern way of life. They don’t want to go further, to travel, to learn more or just to act somehow. Her local friends are surprised to learn that she is engaged to Harry Bellamy, a man from the North. But she is confident that she should see "things happen on a big scale." So Sally Carrol travels to the north, during the winter, to visit Harry's home and meet Harry's family. When she arrived, she feels how everything differs from what she was expected. She feels cold both at home and outside, both in appearance of the people and in their hearts. 

The story’s climax is the stage when Sally Carrol and Harry visit the ice palace. It is the palace made of solid ice. Sally Carrol finds it wonderful and magnificent. She even supposes that she was unjust toward the North. But when they were walking along the passages, Sally Carrol lost her way in the ice castle. She was frightened and even had hallucinations. When she is found, she demands that she go back home "to-morrow! To-morrow!” and the story ends as it began, with Sally Carrol observing another Southern day from her window.

Sally Carrol and Harry represent not only different parts of country, but absolutely different lifestyles, values, characters. The South is described as old-fashioned, light-minded, agricultural and sunny. And the North is cold, industrial, wise and scrupulous. Sally Carrol views Harry’s life as gloomy and depressing. And Harry thinks that only Southern people can look slovenly and untidy, because they are idlers. That’s why the cultural conflict seems inevitable and it really occurs. The couple's cultural conflict begins when Harry says, that he views the South as filled with lazy and shiftless people, lacking in ambition.” but you know what I think of them. They're sort of - sort of degenerates - not at all like the old Southerners. They've lived so long down there with all the colored people that they've gotten lazy and shiftless”. Sally Carrol is hurt by his criticism even though she also made this observation when she said she didn't want to marry a Southern boy. So she is a child of South, full of life and feelings. May be she feels better, dreaming about something more, but observing a sunny morning from her window.

The main symbols of the story concern weather conditions. The first is the sun. When Sally Carrol’s town is described the author makes us feel how hot it is. We sit near Sally Carrol and observe the street; there is no wind or rain, only the flaming sun, that doesn’t let Sally Carrol to get up. And in The North Sun can be scarcely recognized.

Ways of expressing emotion are also symbolic. When a southern person smiles, we see that it is a natural smile. And the Northern person does not smile at all "because the climate is very much like their own.” The author uses the symbol of tears. In the South you cry and everything becomes better. Sometimes you just need to have a good cry. Sally Carrol says about the North: "You'll never cry any more. Your tears would just freeze; all tears freeze up here!"

The main conflict is the cultural one. They say Extremes tend to meet, but in the end someone should adjust to another. Sally Carrol and Harry are representatives of different societies and both don’t want or may be just can’t change. This conflict is very urgent even now. People often want something, that they don’t have and when they get it, they understand that they want something else. There is a very good proverb: the worth of a thing is best known by the want of it

The language of the story is also symbolic. The choice of the language is not occasional. When Southern people speak, their language is more vivid. And Northern people speaks in a more reserved and regular way.

(By Ayayulia)

The Extremes Do Not Meet

The story "The Ice Palace” is full of contrasts. The author introduces the opposite characters to the plot of the story to show the drastic differences between these personalities.

Sally Carrol Happer, a 19-year-old girl from the city of Tarleton in southernmost Georgia, leads a monotonous and leisurely life full of languishing hours of waiting and entertainment. She is a summer child as she puts it. Her dream is, however, to move somewhere to a big city, to marry a prosperous man, to broaden her horizons. She likes her male-acquaintances and adores spending time with them, swimming in the river, sunbathing and having fun in the evenings. But she can’t imagine her future life with anyone of them.

One day the town has been filled with rumors about her engagement with a guy from the North. At first, Sally Carrol denies what is being gossiped about her. But she is engaged indeed. She met Harry Bellaby at seaside resort in Asheville. Harry is tall, broad, brisk, healthy; he has everything Sally Carrol wants. He is not mournful; actually his inability to empathize with his beloved is as evident as his readiness to assent to all her words and thoughts. Sally Carrol is charming; no man can have his head clear when he sees her. Harry is not an exception; he is mesmerized with her beauty and mystery. But he is a man of action, a canine, as the girl puts it.

Sally Carrol is from the South; her temperament is choleric and melancholic at the same time, artistic and poetic features dominating in her worldview. She claims she has several rather clearly defined sides, one of them especially designed to love. She likes it when there is nothing to do. Her favourite way to spent time is to dream and to feel the warmth on her face. She detests cold and piercing wind; she dreads getting frozen in an unfamiliar city.

So what could bind these two contrasting beings together? Apparently nothing. She doesn’t love Harry – she loves her dream and her idea of marrying him. "A faintly familiar icy-cold face kissed her…” – these are her real feelings. Harry would never become kin to her, as flames and ice would never become friends.

When Sally Carrol arrives to the north city, she can't seem to get a handle on the way people live in coldness and endless winter. They all seem to her unemotional, arrogant and spiritually impoverished. The only person Sally Carrol finds sympathy with is Roger Patton who has stricken her with his erudition and right sense of reality. He compares the surrounding people with the characters of Ibsen’s stories – narrow, cheerless, sorrowful. After a few weeks spent with Harry and his family, Sally Carrol feels that something’s going wrong.

On the day of the opening ceremony of an ice palace, she and her fiancé observe the magnificent view of the icy building. They want to see the isolated labyrinths downstairs and Sally Carrol gets lost. She is on the verge of dying because of the uncontrollable fear overwhelming her. When she is rescued, she has no other idea except for her determination to go back home, to the South. The summer child always reaches the sun and warmth.

It is evident the chief conflict takes place between the nature and the dreams. The author emphasizes that what is inborn can’t be overcome. Sally Carrol can be metaphorically defined as summer. And her plans for the future represent winter – that is, businesslike approach, efficiency, prosperity and well-being. But she doesn’t realize it is not her nature. Her tiredness of the routine and listless mood finds an outlet in her desire to see the world, to grow, to mature. But to each his own, as the proverb goes. Sally Carrol could not withstand her nature, her real life assignment, her essence. And it is important that after all she was able to realize that her life and happiness had been left back home, in the little town of Tarleton, Georgia, where a rusty ancient Ford of Clark Darrow keeps squeaking and rattling.

(by MissJane)

Focusing on the Main Character

           The story "The Ice Palace” has a lot of plains. And it can be investigated from different perspectives. In our analysis we have decided to focus of the main character of the story. When commenting upon her story line, we will also come across the problematic of the story, the themes raised and, of course, certain symbols because the short story is very symbolic.

So, Sally Carol, the main character of the story, was born in southernmost Georgia, where the sun heat is an indispensable part of everyday life and where the warm weather makes people's hearts warm too. On the one hand, Sally Carol is a typical representative of her society, she's optimistic and a little bit light-minded. On the other hand she's a kind of girl you are likely to call "screwy” – her favourite place in the town is an old cemetery where she dreams about the past looking at the graves, imagining the people she has never known and events she has never participated  in. "Margery Lee. 1844-1873. Wasn't she nice? She died when she was twenty-nine. Dear Margery Lee <...> She was dark, I think; and she always wore her hair with a ribbon in it, and gorgeous hoop-skirts of alice blue and old rose...” 

             Unlike her friends, who regard their life as the only possible one, Sally Carol longs for some changes. She's bored with the place where she lives, its peaceful and rather lazy nature. "I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale”.  She falls in love with a man from the northern part of the US and makes her mind move to his own state, in order to start a new life in a place where people "want to change things or think or go ahead”.

            But soon Sally Carol understands that this northern town is far from being ideal and it's not only about the weather. Covered with snow, cold and dismal, it makes her depressed and dispirited. Her boyfriend Harry is not so caring and devoted as she used to believe. She finally understands that they are completely different and it's not the situation when the oppositions are attracted.

         "You see I always think of people as feline or canine, irrespective of sex", she says before. Before we get to know that she and her boyfriend don’t suit each other. She claims that she and most of the Southerners are feline, while Harry and most of the Northerners are canine. So, we see that withstanding from of the characters from the very beginning of the short story.

As for the story itself, it is curious to admit that it has a frame structure. It begins and ends in the same way, only with slight modifications. The story begins with Sally sitting "up in her bedroom window and watching Clark come to her. She is yawning, eating an apple. Clark invites her to go swimming and she agrees.

At the end of the story the weather is also sunny. Sally is sitting on her windowsill again. And again is she watching Clark come to her on her Ford. They have the same dialogue. Again is she invited to go swimming and again does she agree. The only detail that is changed is what she is eating. This time it is a "green peach”.  And that is definitely a symbol. Sally has come back from the North. The setting is the same. It seems as if nothing has changed. As if the flow of life is all the same. But Sally is different now. She has become more mature. She has tried to grasp the truth of life. She has failed to escape her daily routine. But what is more important, she has given it a try. The ones who do not risk and try will never achieve success!

(By Rina & Asya)

A warm girl in the ice palace

Sally Carrol is a ninety-year-old lady who lives in a small southern town. She is a romantic person and a real dreamer. She wants to visit other towns and countries, meet different people. She also wants her mind to grow. She likes her friends and her town, but she understands that nothing changes. People don’t want to achieve anything, to explore the world. What they have is enough for them.

Sally fells that she doesn’t live, but only exists. She thinks that people in the North are more purposeful, that they are real adventurers and conquerors. That’s why she intends to leave the South. The fact is that Sally doesn’t understand that the problem is in her mind. She will achieve everything even if she stays here in the South.

When she visits the North, it seems really cold. Southern and northern people have different mentalities. Sally has been reared in the South. She is full emotions, but these very emotions aren’t welcomed in the North.

Sally’s inner desire to seek and to achieve has been brought up by the South. She just hasn’t been taught to hide or suppress her emotions. Fortunately, Sally understands that the North is too unfamiliar for her and decides to come home.

She can never live in the great ice palace of North always being a warm little girl from the South.

(by Seagull)


The short story Ice Palace by Sc. Fitzgerald is about a Southern girl who falls in love with a Northern guy and leaves the South. Sally Carol is a young girl who lives in Georgia. She spends her time hanging around with friends and enjoying her life. She has a lot of potential fiancés, but she thinks they are all featherbrained. Once she meets a Northern guy, Harry, whom she falls in love with and soon she goes to his own town in the North. She is welcomed with open arms. At first everything’s ok, but soon she has a first quarrel with Harry, and moreover she understands that the North is a cold and gloomy place, and neither skiing nor sledge riding, nor sweet professor of literature won’t make her feel well and comfortable here. Meanwhile, a huge ice palace is being built in the town. After it’s finished, Sally visits it with her future husband, but unfortunately she gets lost in it. Being lost within its wall, she feels that the whole North is like the ice palace – cold, snowy, icy, huge, depressive and oppressive, despairing and of little joy. During her confinement, she has a vision of an old southern woman whose grave she visited shortly before she left to the North. The ghost is calling her back – to the South. She is finally rescued, but in the last part of the story we see how Sally is sitting on her porch in her hometown and the scene with her friend giving her a lift to the pool repeats – we understand that Sally has come back to Georgia again. She failed to survive the depression of the North.


The main characters of the story – are sally and harry. Sally is a southern girl whose inner world corresponds to the non-pedantic and open-minded South, which is juxtaposed to the chilly, prim and proper North by Fitzgerald. Perhaps due to her young age she is seeking for love looking for something different from what she used to see around her all her life. She believes all the boys in her town (but not in the whole south, as mentions later in the story) are failures, which is, losers.  She falsely wants more stability, or at least she considers that happiness lies in success or something. But the simplicity and plainness is what she is actually about. She is a typical representative of a young southern girl who is depicted by Fitzgerald in opposition to Harry who has absorbed all traits of a typical northern boy.  Harry is a mannerly and well-bred boy, whose connections with the family are very strong. We learn much about northern family traditions, but we know nothing about Sally’s parents – Fitzgerald underlines how much a family for a Yankee means. Harry doesn’t have strong feelings against sally, I believe and this is explained by the fact that as any other northern, he is too restrained to express his feelings. Sally is treated very coldly in the north; actually the whole image of the north is built upon the notions of cold and ice, so that allusion is based on the semantics of the word "cold”. Finally, I must say that these two characters reflect the difference between the North and the South. We can’t say now that these lead a war against each other, implicit or explicit, but a great difference between them is seen in everything. Probably, the main conflict of the story consists in this discrepancy.

Symbols and images

The story is full of symbolism magnificently presented by the author to the readers. The main image in the story is the ice palace. It surely represents the North – vast and cold. Sally gets lost in the palace, she nearly gets frozen to death, just as the North devours her depriving her of bright and simple existence she had in the South. Fitzgerald skillfully plays with images in the story. When Sally is in the South, she describes wonderful landscapes and warmth and everyday pleasure. Just as Sally moves towards the North, we feel cold of the train, wet and frozen feet of Sally, and finally her despair in the palace where it’s dark and cold, and wall are forty inches thick. The ghost of the woman sally sees in the palace is another symbol. It represents the South. The vision soothes Sally, helps her get over this terrific cold and darkness. It warms her up, supports her in the North. Finally Sally is rescued, and similarly she escapes the North.


The conflict in the story is surely between the North and the South, represented by the main characters. The gloomy and melancholy of the South is juxtaposed to the joyfulness and pleasure of the South. It seems that the conflict is unsolvable, because it always existed and it will always be between two general types of people in America. Fitzgerald describes how this conflict evolves, until it reaches the climax – the scene in the palace – and perhaps the conflict is solved for Sally, but speaking generally, we can’t undoubtedly say that the conflict ceased to exist. Sally just ran away from it, but didn’t find a solution. Probably, Fitzgerald suggests that to some extent the conflict is more cultural, and it exists at the national level. Overall impression of the story makes me feel that Fitzgerald disapproves of the North and stands for the South. It feels like the North is the antagonist of the author, which plays the role of a "negative character” in the story. I’m inclined to think that this is a subjective opinion of the author.

The language of Faulkner is generally more complicated than the language of Fitzgerald. I should say that Faulkner is more detailed in his descriptions of scenes; he uses sophisticated language to present the reality of his works to the reader as much closely as possible. Fitzgerald in his turn stakes on rich images. 

(by 8davids8)


It seems to me this story is about the differences between the North and South as experienced by young lovers. But first oa all I want to say about the plot and main characters of the story. Here the main characters are Sally Carrol and her boyfriend Harry. Sally Carrol seems like a typical Southern beauty, but she has the bobbed hair and the high ideals of a modern girl. She wants to visit places and see different people. She wants her mind to grow. But her boyfriend Harry Bellamy is as brisk as the Northern climate. He seems to her very listless and dull. He is hard and cold as the North. He is her typical opposite. Sally Carrol doesn't want to marry a Southern boy because she finds them lacking in ambition.  She becomes engaged to Harry Bellamy. He invites her to the North to spend a month with his family. Sally Carrol finds the environment there as cold and uninviting as the weather, and the Bellamys rigid and conventional. Harry takes her to a local attraction, a huge ice palace. When she becomes lost in its labyrinthine interior, Sally Carrol realizes that she is caught in a trap in more ways than one. Her true feelings come out, and she discovers that she doesn't belong in the North and that her future lies in the South. She breaks her engagement and goes home. The Ice Palace is about considerable differences between man and woman who have different ideas about life. And I think that in this story there is one major conflict. The principal conflict is developing between the warm and "soft" South and the cold and harsh North.   The author focuses on the cultural conflict between a Southern woman and her Northern lover. It is a conflict between the main characters Sally Carrol and her boyfriend Harry. Sally  understands  that the North is really different world, she feels like an outsider and she finds a kindred spirit only in a professor, Roger Patton. So we can say that in this story the author uses many descriptions of state of nature which are typical of North and South. He uses many adjectives to help the reader understand  main characters, their thoughts and feeling, understand their ideas about life,  all their problems and atmosphere and he uses as the main symbol the huge Ice Palace itself. I think that this local attraction is a personification of typical Northern citizen it is a personification of Sally’s boyfriend Harry. He is very listless, dull, hard and cold as this place. 

(By Tanya)

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