Study Questions for “Travels with the Snow Queen” by Kelly Link [1996]

Kelly Link’s story was published in 1996 in Volume 1, Issue 1 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. Like our previous slipstream stories expanding on fairy tale traditions, Link’s story examines and critiques gender stereotypes. Here are a few issues to consider:

  1. How does the third word of this story establish the narrative voice of  “Travels with the Snow Queen” as unlike that of any narrator we have previously encountered? What kind of relationship between reader and story does that opening sentence establish?
  2. The heroines of fairy tales are usually presented as innocent and submissive. In what specific ways—beginning even on page one—does Link subvert those typical depictions of fairy tale heroines?
  3. How does the idea of maps function in the story?  Of mirrors?
  4. How would you characterize the “you” being addressed by the narrator? If the “you” is “ladies (4), then what space is allowed for male readers?
  5. How would you describe Kay, the lover who left the protagonist?
  6. What is the protagonist’s relation to Little Red Riding Hood? Are other fairy tales references in the story? Specifically where?
  7. Why is the story titled travels with the snow queen?
  8. Why do spirit animals throughout the story say, ”He doesn’t love you, you know”?
  9. Why does the protagonist refuse to kiss Bae? [18]. Why does she refuse to kiss Kay? [21].
  10.  What is this story really about?