"With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow,..."
See in text (Chapter III)
Notice the triumphant natural imagery here: the beautiful aurora borealis "flames coldly," an oxymoron that suggests it shine brightly but remotely; the stars "dance," showing movement and the joyousness associated with nature; and the land is buried under snow—"pall" being another word for cloth laid over a coffin. Though the natural world is chilly and dangerous, it is also a place of great beauty and life.
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