How 5 Literary Characters Deal With Winter

What with the wickedness of the polar vortex last week and the groans that January and February temperatures call for, you may run out of ways to describe exactly how flippin' cold it is. After all, one can cry of her need for a tauntaun only so often. If you're so cold you're speechless, first make sure you don't actually have laryngitis, and then curl on up with a novel and read how fictional characters deal with winter.

Hal Incandenza inhales.

During winter months, when any expelled odor would get ducted up into the Lung and hang there conspicuous, Hal mostly goes into a remote sub-dormitory lavatory and climbs onto a toilet in a stall and exhales into the grille of one of the little exhaust fans in the ceiling; but this routine lacks a certain intricate subterranean covert drama. —Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

And we all crave subterranean covert drama.

Emma Bovary snuggles up.

Day began to break. She looked long at the windows of the chateau, trying to guess which were the rooms of all those she had noticed the evening before. She would fain have known their lives, have penetrated, blended with them. But she was shivering with cold. She undressed, and cowered down between the sheets against Charles, who was asleep. —Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

Why she undresses is beyond me.

Jane Eyre dons a mantle and muff.

Gathering my mantle about me, and sheltering my hands in my muff, I did not feel the cold, though it froze keenly; as was attested by a sheet of ice covering the causeway, where a little brooklet, now congealed, had overflowed after a rapid thaw some days since. —Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

This sounds like inspiration for a J.Peterman catalog.

Orlando gets gloomy.

Then suddenly, Orlando would fall into one of his moods of melancholy; the sight of the old woman hobbling over the ice might be the cause of it, or nothing; and would fling himself face downwards on the ice and look into the frozen waters and think of death. —Orlando, Virginia Woolf

Orlando! Get up from there. Go have a hot buttered rum somewhere.

Alice imagines the snow a tender kisser.

Do you hear the snow against the window-panes, Kitty? How nice and soft it sounds! Just as if some one was kissing the window all over outside. I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again." —Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

Don't get your hopes up that your boss will call you with such tenderness tomorrow.

Image: Getty Images