“Thomas Hardy, a considerably better Victorian writer than Edward B. -L., has a delightful story called “The Three Strangers” (1883) in which a condemned man (escaped), a hangman, and the escapee’s brother all converge on a shepherd's house during a christening party. The hangman doesn’t recognize his quarry (nor do the members of the party), but the brother does, and runs away, leading to a manhunt and general hilarity, all of which takes place on a, well, dark and stormy night,” (Foster 76). He uses it to force the men together. (Plot device) Rain is good for setting the mood, as anything (good or bad) can take place in the rain. (Atmospherics) No one likes being stuck in the rain. (Misery factor) All sorts seek shelter from the rain. (Democratic element) A stroll through rain can be deciphered as a symbolic cleansing, yet if you fall into the mud, you can become more stained than before. It is used in works for its restorative properties. (i.e. the ending to A Farewell to Arms when the protagonist walks out of the hospital into the rain) Symbol of Spring, so associated with new life. “When you read about a rainbow, as in Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “The Fish” (1947), where she closes with the sudden vision that “everything / was rainbows, rainbows, rainbows,” you just know there’s some element of this divine pact between human, nature, and God,” (Foster 79-80). In literature, it is used to symbolize promise and peace between earth and heaven. “Dickens uses a miasma, a literal and figurative fog, for the Court of Chancery, the English version of American probate court where estates are sorted out and wills contested, in Bleak House (1853)” (Foster 80). “And in “The Dead,” Joyce takes his hero to a moment of discover; Gabriel, who sees himself as superior to other people, has undergone an evening in which he is broken down little by little, until he can look out at the snow, which is “general all over Ireland,” and suddenly realize that snow, like death, is the great unifier, that it falls, in the beautiful image, “upon all the living and the dead,”(Foster 80-81). “For an English professor, and for any avid reader, having a blithely ignorant (and only recently clued-in) husband narrate the saga of his wife’s longtime infidelity is about as good as it gets. But I digress. Why, you ask, are they habitués of the spa? Florence and Edward are ill, of course. Heart trouble. What else?” (Foster 208). Homer (author of The lliad and The Odyssey) often mentioned his characters as having “a heart of iron,” which in the Bronze Age, was the most durable metal. Sophocles (along with many other great writers) portrayed it as “the center of emotion within the body” (Foster 208). Heart disease is a usual motif of those suffering from: “bad love, loneliness, cruelty, pederasty, disloyalty, cowardice, lack of determination,” (Foster 209) among other things. Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2003. Print.