A scrap of yellow cloth tied to the door of plague houses was a sign of illness within. The pushcarts moving through the city was symbolic of the dead victims that needed someone to bury them, for no one was left in the family that was willing to risk exposure. The grass growing over the mass graves was a symbol of life returning to the stricken city. The crushed bird cage was a sign that the parrot was probably dead. Grandfather's sword was a reminder of his past military triumphs and showed Mattie's strength and willingness to wield it in her grandfather's defense. The bag of coffee beans delivered to the coffeehouse at the end signalled a return of the business which Mattie would now reopen.