Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. Research the role women played in Southern society in 1903, and discuss the various ways Porter highlights the fact that the children were living in a male-dominated society. Consider the image that emerges of Southern women in Porter's story and how this image reflects the times.
2. Comment on the repressed world of the South during the time Porter was a child and how this is reflected in her writing. Now compare it to the present. Have things changed much?
3. Read some biographical information on Porter, and write a paper comparing her life to the life of Miranda.
4. Porter uses symbolism to add layers of meaning to her story. Research the symbols of the dove, the ring, the rabbit, and the grave. What have these symbols meant in traditional lore over the ages, and what additional meanings can you attach to Porter's use of them in "The Grave"?
5. Porter's work has been characterized as modernist, which is characterized in part by a retreat from Victorian ideals. What in the story indicates to you Porter's desire to retreat from Victorian ideals. Place the story in historical context, and elaborate on how Miranda's growth and development appears to be affected by the social standards that defined the times.
6. Research feminist viewpoints on "The Grave." Talk about the gender issues and stereotypes that emerge as Porter develops her plot and Miranda gains an understanding of her womanhood.
7. Porter was said to consider herself an atheist, yet Christian symbolism pervades her story. Elaborate on Porter's metaphor of the fall of man, and discuss what you believe she meant to convey by using this metaphor.