Monday, March 1, 2010

Growing up

The Grave by Kathrine Anne Porter is about two young children growing up and discovering death. Paul and Miranda were about the ages of twelve and nine. They were visiting their family graves, but not because they were paying tribute. The land had been bought and the graves were being moved, so the land had recently been dug up. The two children, being interested in, but not fully understanding, death, decided they were going to look around the pits that had been left in the wake of moving the bodies.

While searching the graves, Miranda had found a dove, but it was a screw cap for one of the coffins. Her brother Paul had found a golden ring with flowers on it and the two of them exchanged findings and trotted off with their treasures. Even thought the graves had belonged to their family, they still felt like trespassers and they quickly left to return to their hunting.

The two children enjoyed hunting together. This made Miranda a sort of tomboy. She enjoyed wearing boyish clothes and walking in the mud and shooting, but the village disapproved. Amusing over the ring, Miranda is filled with the feelings and desires of being pretty; rather she felt ashamed of her ways. The ring is a symbol of adolescence, of growing up, but it is also tied to pretty things, away from the grime of the bad. After they find a rabbit, the brother shoots it, but he discovers that it was about to have babies. The sight of these babies helps to connect their understanding of death, as they see a similarity to baby cats and then babies.

After twenty years, Miranda is reminded of the even years ago when seeing small creatures in the market. She instantly remembers her brother holding the dove in his hands, turning it over. The dove was something associated with death, but it has become an image of the innocence that was affiliated with a Miranda and her brother before she was awakened to the world. "The Grave" is a story about growing up and holding onto childhood and innocence. When Miranda was still a child, she did not think twice about killing an animal, it was simply something she did; but growing up changed that, made it more personal. The image of the baby rabbits forced them to grow up and understand death as more; but as people, we still hold onto that innocence.

This same principal applies to most human. Soldiers in war must forget that the enemy is human, because to realize what one is doing, is to go insane; it is to lose a part of oneself. People do not look at death well, but by re associating it, we can look at it differently. Miranda does that with the dove, an image, although tied to death, that is innocent of the truth.