The Grave: Redemption and Coming of age
Everyone has that one person that they look up to as a child. In the short story "The Grave," a young girl named Miranda grew up without a mother and is considered to be a tomboy. Her older brother, Paul, is that person she looks up to. She has a sort of epiphany after playing and digging through dirt in her grandfather's old grave with her brother and finding a gold ring which gears her into discovering her femininity. The author, Katherine Anne Porter uses symbolism to a great extent to illustrate the themes of redemption and Miranda's epiphany of deciding to accept and embrace her existence as a woman.
The main form of symbolism that porter uses in the story is Christian Symbolism. Prior to when Miranda and Paul explore the graves, Porter describes the cemetery by stating: “The cemetery had been a pleasant, small, neglected garden of tangled rose bushes and ragged cedar trees and cypress. . .” (362). The description of the grave refers to the Garden of Eden which is a Christian Biblical setting. Grubbs acknowledges that: “. . . Something that Miranda says about a snake following their exploration of the graves makes the Biblical connection almost obvious. “We [the reader] guess that there will be a fall however, when Miranda asks if she can ‘have the first snake’ in their hunt, suggesting the snake that led Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge” (Smith, Ed 3). This supports the theme of redemption to this Biblical reference. Miranda and Paul feel much like how Adam and Eve felt in The Fall of Eden; the reader can make this comparison by this quote in the short story saying: ". . . The cemetery was no longer theirs, and they felt like trespassers" (Porter 363). When Adam and Eve begin to feel as if they have done a forbidden act, they start to have negative feelings such as shame and the fear of being discovered, just like Miranda and Paul, and how they do not want anyone to know that they have been playing in...
Cited: Porter, Katherine Anne. ""The Grave"" The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter.
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Rooke Constance and Bruce Wallis. “Myth and Epiphany in Porter’s ‘The Grave,’.”
Studies in short fiction 25.3 (Summer 1978): 269-275. Rpt. In Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jenny Cromie and Justin Karr. Vol. 43. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Oct. 2012.
Grubbs, M.A. “The Grave.” Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition (2004):
1-2. Literary Reference Center. Web. 26 Oct. 2012.
“The Grave.” Short Stories for Student. Ed. Jennifer Smith. Vol. 11. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. 78-93. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.
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