Incident in a Rose Garden Questions and Answers
by Donald Justice

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In the poem Incident in the Rose garden, what are the roses meant to represent and how do they tie into the central motif of Death?

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janeyb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The rose garden represents many things, here is an excerpt from the enotes:

The fact that Death appears in the rose garden underscores the place of...

(The entire section contains 82 words.)

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r-u-n-n-o-f-t | Student

Another metaphoric meaning could be like the 3 parts to a rose the petals, the bud, and the thorns.

The rose shows beauty and holds the bud- signifying new life. The thorns show death and destrusction.

I beleive that the Donald Justice is trying to tell us that death is nothing to fear, escpecially because he in the poem he voices through Death "I knew your father, we were friends at the end" He is trying to tell you that death is there to lead you through your demise and also brings forth new light and life.

:) Just thought another opinion could help.

theunexpected | Student

Hello, my friend!! Thank you for your question!!

There is an allegory in the use of roses, which signify a juxtaposition of two extremes, in the sense that roses are the ultimate flower which everybody could long to get and are the ones to be offered to our beloved. They can unexpectedly prick you because of the thorns, hidden underneath the petals. They look approachable and make you want to touch them but this is a deception-such as Death. They can cause harm. So does Death-he can be found where he is least expected, even approaching people in a provocative way, as in the "incident..." but he is the one to have the final word. ;-)