MCS 3040 – Assignment #1

Images and symbols

In the poem ‘Because I could not stop for Death (479)’ by Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886, there is use of images and symbols that represents certain phenomena being described. The topic ‘Because I could not stop for Death’ is used in order to reveal the speakers acceptance of death as she describes vividly the death experience as less frightening (Emily 1993).  She describes the grave as her house to indicate that she feels comfortable about death.  She describes that they drove slowly and with no haste, this reveals that the death may have come in form of debility or a disease which took time to consume her.


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In the third stanza, the speaker describes the stages she has passed in her life like she says that ‘we passed the school, where the children strove’ which represents their childhood life. She describes that ‘At recess, in the ring, we passed the fields of the gazing grain’ that indicate their maturity as grown adults.  She explains that ‘we passed the setting sun’ to represent death.

Emily represents a grave as her house to indicate her comfortable feelings about death. She says that after many centuries, her new life is so pleasant that she doesn’t feel the passing of time which indicates that she is comfortable in death. The speaker in the poem symbolizes a woman who is speaking from grave and has accepted death calmly as she describes death as a suitor she had the intention of marrying.

A suitor that called the narrator in order to accompany her to eternity represents death. The boys and girls who were playing in the school yard symbolize the speaker in the early stages of life. The use of ‘gossamer my gown’ symbolizes a thin wedding dress that the speaker would wear when marrying death. The pass of centuries symbolizes the time the speaker has been in the grave. The roof that was scarcely visible, the cornice and a swelling ground as used to symbolize the description of a grave.

In the story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ by Flannery O’Connor, there are several images and symbols that are used to describe situations or people. For instance, the family passes Toomsboro town where grandmother becomes conscious and remembers the old plantation which doesn’t exist (Flannery 1976). The town is mentioned before the falling of the family into a misfit to represent doom that the family is yet to experience and the word itself sounds like a tomb.

The misfit’s car is described as the ‘big black battered hearse-like automobile’ when it was approaching the family to represent an image of death, this predicts the family’s fate before the misfit. The dark forest is described as tall and dark and is looming over the ditch at the point where the family is trapped.  The forest is explained as threatening which indicate the imminent death that is yet to befall the family. The place is where all the family members are taken to be killed with an exception of the grandmother only.

The cloudless, sunless sky is stated severally after the accident of the family car, after the misfit, and after shooting the grandmother, this is image for the night. That means the family was killed at night because the cloudless, sunless describes night time. the cloudless, sunless sky also brings unclear imagery as indicates two sides. The sky is austere and barren as it is empty. The emptiness in evidenced in the extreme situation that the family is facing as they are facing death in a lonely and threatening place where there is no one to rescue them. The emptiness in the sky also represents the misfit which is described as having no good and has lost the concern of appearance.  The cloudless sky on the hand has a positive image because it is normally characterized by a beautiful day for example, the grandmother describes the day as beautiful after the mention of the sky by the misfit.

The grandmother’s hat that she puts on order to show that she is actually a lady symbolizes a wrong moral code. In her preparation for the car trip together with the family, the grandmother dress up and wears a hat in order for her body to be identified as a lady in the occurrence of an accident leading to her death. She is ignorant of the fact that when she dies in the accident, all the family members would be dead but her only main concern is that her body is to be identified as a lady. This implies that the grandmother has a ridiculous concern which indicates that she is selfish and has a negative moral conviction. When the grandmother is involved in an accident, the hat falls apart indicating that her negative moral conviction has also fallen apart.  The dropping of a broken hat signifies the dissolution of the grandmother’s view of herself as a lady.

In conclusion, the imagery and symbols used above helps the writer to describe the situations as they happen in the story. The imagery and symbols represents and gives a vivid description of people and situations that would otherwise not well articulated directly. The symbols strengthen the writing and make it more interesting as they bring out the deeper meaning in the story.

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