Symbolism In The Handsomest Drowned Man

963 Words4 Pages
In The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, Marquez uses contextual, cultural, and archetypal symbols in order to portray the importance of motivation. He uses the dead body as the main contextual symbol because it symbolizes hope, possibility, and improvement of life for the villagers. Also, the sole archetype in the story is the hero in a non-traditional way because he inspires and “saves” people while dead. Finally, the dead body serves as a cultural symbol because it represents a vessel for new life or rebirth. For example, this is proven when he brings life to the village,”Men and women became aware for the first time of the desolation of their streets, the dryness of their courtyards, the narrowness of their dreams as they faced the splendor…show more content…
For example, the author uses the quilts to serve as a universal and a cultural symbol because it represents the seamless, multi-generational bonds in the family. In addition, Walker uses quilts in order to release tension in the relationship between the mother and the daughter. Another contextual symbol is Dee’s new name, Wangero, which exemplifies the extent to which she feels superior to her family in an ironic attempt to appreciate her heritage. Before the reader even sees Dee, her mother tells the reader that she was always the kind of person who would “look anyone in the eye” and that “hesitation was no part of her nature”. From this, the reader can infer that Dee or Wangero feels no limitations in a liberated manner towards all people. Additionally, this rejection of her true culture is shown by her desire to convert the items from the house into decorative pieces when she says, "I can use the chute top as a centerpiece for the alcove table… and I'll think of something artistic to do with the dasher." Furthermore, her disconnection to her true culture reaches its peak when she responds irrationally to her mother, “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts! . . . She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use!” This reveals to the reader that Dee is missing the perspective of honoring the practical…show more content…
Allen has each character represent a group of people outside the scope of the story in order to communicate the essential idea that intellectuals are being relegated and sentenced to pejoration. For example, he uses two cultural symbols that represent particular groups of western society. First, Babcock belongs to the group of people who seek intellectual stimulation. Therefore, when he admits to having an ¨intellectual affair,” Kaiser recalls that the “boys at headquarters were on to something involving a group of educated women,” he felt confident that he could solve the case and imprison the women. Furthermore, Kaiser serves as a contextual symbol from the story because he represents censorship of the mentally gifted people. Therefore, in his attempts to force society away from the progression of intelligence, Kaiser is determined to imprison the whores of Mensa, the group of educated women, for providing intellectual stimulation to the population. For example, after he encounters one of them, Sherry, he threatens that she would do time for discussing Melville and she began to cry, “‘Don’t turn me in, Kaiser’ . . . ‘I needed the money to complete my master’s. I’ve been turned down for a grant. Twice. Oh, Christ’ . . .” Finally, this story is an allegory for what society could look
Open Document