Porter's Use of Symbols in The Grave
Katherine Anne Porter effectively illustrates maturing, and learning about life and death in "The Grave" through Miranda's revelation during the hunting incident by using a variety of symbols in her story. Porter's story gives us insight about our confusing journey through life, coming to terms with death, and the trials and tribulations that come with it by her use of symbols like a silver dove, a gold ring, rabbits, and the grave. She also uses the characters Miranda and Paul to reveal our connection with death when a seemingly normal day of exploring the family cemetery turns into a day they will not soon forget.
Miranda is the main character and is a curious and adventurous nine year old. She lacks the the guidance of a woman so father dresses her in boys clothes: “dark blue overalls, a light blue shirt, a hired-man’s straw hat, and thick brown sandals” (Porter 279). At the beginning of the story, Miranda seems innocent, “scratching around aimlessly and pleasurably as any young animal” (Porter 278), while she and her brother tinker around aimlessly in the empty graves they set out to explore. As Miranda and Paul explore the graves further, they find treasures like a silver dove and a gold ring, disregarding that these items once belonged to their now dead grandfather. They also fail to associate the graves with death. Their thoughts and feelings are careless, disrespectful and are in the here-and-now. "The personal application of the message that death awaits all human beings has in fact eluded them" (Rooke and Wallis 270). The silver dove, which came from their grandfather's old grave, symbolizes the peace he found in death. The dove also represents multiple symbols like death, peace and the object of their hunt, and the gold ring was likely their grandfather's wedding band. "The opening paragraph of the story, outlining the history of the family and its cemetery,...
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