Analysis of “The Grave” by Katherine Anne Porter
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” (The Holy Bible English Standard Version, Romans 3:23). This verse is stating that everyone has fallen from grace, no one has maintained holiness. This idea is exactly what Katherine Anne Porter is trying to convey in her short story, “The Grave.” Porter is “known for her use of religious allusions and symbolism because of her Catholic background” (Rooke, Wallis 269). Because of this, it is no surprise that in “The Grave” she uses symbolism and an allusion to man’s original fall from grace in a seemingly simple story of the inevitable loss of grace. From the beginning the story is dripping with symbolism. The name of the main character itself is symbolic. Rooke and Wallis stated that the name Miranda “obviously recalls the Miranda from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which made the name almost a synonym for innocence” (269). By naming her character Miranda, Porter has already established the innocence of her character. Porter then moves to describe the rebirth of her character by using the graves. DeMouy said, “The earth of course is feminine, and the open graves in the fecund soil suggest the womb” (91). When Porter says, “She scrambled out [of the grave], over a pile of loose earth that had fallen back into one end of the grave…” (363), she is describing a rebirth, a change from what Miranda once was. In this case she is undergoing the change from innocence to worldliness. The graves symbolize rebirth in another way, “They are no longer the resting place of dead bodies, but a playground for children- new life in the face of death” (Overview of “The Grave” 78). In addition to being reborn from a symbolic womb, Miranda finds a dove within the grave which is “a symbol for of innocence…” (Rooke ,Wallis 270). Once she comes up cradling her innocence, she notices that her brother has “found a wedding ring (a specific Freudian symbol of marriage and sex)” (270)....
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