Zlateh the Goat

Zlateh the Goat Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Snow (Motif)

Snow is a key motif in "Zlateh the Goat." It accompanies the central points of the plot. First, the premise of the story is that there has not been enough snow that year to sustain Reuven's business. As a result, Reuven instigates Aaron and Zlateh's journey. Next, when the blizzard arrives, the narrator remarks that Aaron had never seen snow like this before. The narrator goes on to emphasize the depth of the snow blanketing the ground, the fast pace of the "whirling flakes" falling to the ground, and the "white dust" rising above the ground created by the wind swirling the snow. The snow creates icicles on Zlateh's beard and frost on her horns. Finally, snow also blankets the haystack, disguising the crucial shelter from Aaron's view until it is almost too late. When they reach shelter, the snow continues to fall around them.

Zlateh's Milk (Symbol)

Zlateh's milk is an important symbol of redemption and God's miracles in the story. At the start of the story, Zlateh is an old goat who can barely produce milk anymore. This, along with the fact that Reuven's business has fallen on hard times, catalyzes her trip to town to be sold to the butcher. Yet when stranded in a haystack with a hungry Aaron, Zlateh is somehow able to produce enough rich, warm milk to sustain him for three days. In the context of the Hanukkah holiday, Zlateh's milk represents the redemption she finds in renewed life after the storm, and the miraculous powers that saved Zlateh and Aaron from the storm.