The book revolves around two characters, Miranda a nine-year-old girl and her twelve-year-old brother Paul. However, the book ends with an older Miranda who is reliving her memories. At the same time, the book later introduces the character of her dead grandmother and grandfather. Additionally, the book illustrates Miranda’s father Harry and her older sister Maria. Further, there is a blanket reference to the family’s neighbors. Miranda as a main character is bold and well-informed. Ideally, she is well aware of her family’s wealthy past and their present difficulties. Unfortunately, we realize that she lacks a mother and grandmother to offer her guidance on women Behavior. As a result, her father dresses her in boys clothes. In spite of her personality, Miranda is very innocent. On the other hand, Paul is found to be laid-back and tactical. For instance, his insistence on taking his time to aim at his target and the precision with which he executes it affirms his skills. Additionally, he can be said to be responsible judging by the fact that he was out taking care of his younger sister. Furthermore, he is firm as evident in his tone to Miranda insisting that she should not tell his father of the unfortunate incidence with the rabbit.
Ideally, the book is set in the farm belonging to Miranda’s grandmother. Basically, this is where she and her family lived. Essentially, we are informed that the present locale where the story is based is in Texas. Noteworthy, Louisiana which was the previous abode for grandmother and Kentucky where other members of her family lived are mentioned. Moreover, we are told that the year is 1903. Accordingly, we are left to imagine what time of the year it was as there is no concrete indication of any festivities. Additionally, we are informed of a terrain of trees, roses, and grass. On the other hand, the slightest clue depicting a calm weather was the fact that the duo was outdoors where they spent some considerable time. Similarly, the story is set in a traditional setting since Miranda was taunted for been dressed as a boy. Additionally, her father was castigated for allowing a girl to go outside and carry on ‘boy activities’ like horseback riding and hunting.
Initially, the story starts off with the highlighting of Miranda’s grandmother habit of carrying her late husband’s remains wherever she relocated. Notably, the story details of two such incidences. Conveniently, this sets the scene for the introduction of other characters and the explanation of their relationship. Further, the focus shifts to where we meet Miranda and Paul out on a hunting escapade. Additionally, a scenario in which each stumble upon empty graves is portrayed. Progressively, Miranda finds a dove while Paul retrieves a ‘thin wide gold ring carved with intricate flowers and leaves’. Further, they converge and reveal their found possessions to one another where they traded between themselves. Markedly, Paul liked the dove, while Miranda loved the ring. Motivated by their lucky find, the duo set out to hunt some more. Remarkably, they hunt down a rabbit what turns out to be quite an eventful catch. After this, we see them going back home. However, the plot generates further where we meet Miranda, nearly twenty years later and we are made to understand that these occurrences were a mere flashbacks.
Ideally, an internal conflict is evident when Miranda and Paul disagreed on who was to take the first shot at their targets. Essentially, Paul insisted that Miranda did not even care whether she got her target or not. Indeed, Miranda does not seem to deny this fact. Interestingly, she points out that what she likes about shooting is just pulling the trigger and hearing the bang. In itself, this is a clear conflict where two main characters hold two divergent views on a particular subject. Similarly, there arises an external conflict of the man versus nature and self among the two main characters. Basically, this arises when Paul shoots a rabbit and on skinning it discovers that it was pregnant indeed. In fact, so intense is the conflict on Paul’s side that he commands Miranda never to mention the tragedy to anyone. Equally, the conflict weighed heavily on Miranda as she forewent the collection of the rabbit’s skin which she usually did for making her doll’s clothes.
Point of View
Essentially, the story is narrated from the third person omniscient point of view. Importantly, this is emphasized by the fact that the author seems to know all events about the story. For example, the writer is privileged to be aware of Miranda’s grandmother’s habit of tagging along grandfather’s remains. Equally, the writer reveals to us the thoughts of the characters. For instance, when Miranda and Paul killed the pregnant rabbit, the writer educates us of Miranda’s internal reflection following the grave events which had just transpired (Liberman).
Basically, Katherine Porter’s book The Grave serves to usher the readers into the initiation of Miranda’s naivety to a level of comprehension and experience. For instance, Miranda affirms that she knows that the rabbit was about to give birth when Paul skinned it. Essentially, this highlights a shift from ignorance to experience. Further, the story unfolds and the two children are faced with the mysteries of life and death. Nonetheless, these mysteries provided a platform for which important lessons could be learned. Additionally, it was in the graves where the children found their treasures. Consequently, the vivid imagery of Paul putting back the unborn babies into their mother’s womb and burying them helps depict the fragility and the cycle of life.
The writer primarily lets us into the book through multi-layered, disjointed time frames. Interestingly, each segment gives much more information than the prior portion. Nevertheless, the writer effectively uses flashback to narrate the story where just like Miranda, the reader discovers continuity. Ideally, by returning to the past, the reader understands how the present leads to the past and how the past easily blends into the present. Importantly, the main style used by Katherine is Symbolism. For example, the dove which Miranda found at the empty grave is symbolical. However, its significance differs among different people. For instance, Brandon (5) views it as a symbol of innocence, love and peace. Interestingly, the coffin at the grave had dove-shaped screws. In addition, Miranda also views a gold wedding ring to be a representation of women sexuality and marriage. Notably, this corresponds with her present status as a mature woman, Further, Miranda views the circular nature of a ring represents cyclical and external nature of life. Similarly, I would equate the dove to the purity and naivety of the duo.
Libermann, Myron. Katherine Anne Porter’s Fiction, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1971. Print.
Brandon, Michael. “A Case Study of Katherine Anne Porter’s “The Grave” from Formalist, Freudian Psychoanalytic, Post-structuralist, and Feminist Literary Perspectives.” Diss. University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects, 1994. Web. “The Grave.”