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The motif Coffin in HCA : The Child in the Grave (1859)
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The motif Coffin in HCA : The Child in the Grave (1859)

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Example 1:

She could not conceive that he was dead, that he should be laid in a coffin and rest in a dark grave. God would never take her child from her, she thought; when it happened, however, and was a certainty, she cried aloud in her agony, "God had known nothing of this! He has heartless servants here upon earth; they do as they like and pay no heed to the prayers of a mother!"

In her grief she turned from God, and then came dark thoughts, thoughts of death, everlasting death- that human beings became earth in the earth and that all was over.

Comment on this quote: The grieving mother turns from God and into herself. This is why she loses all hope. She also turns from her family, and from this world, in which she has a godgiven place. But she eventually returns to life.

Example 2:

The day of the funeral came. For several nights she had not closed her eyes; but early in the morning of this day, overcome at last by weariness, she fell asleep. And during her sleep the coffin was carried into a distant room and there the lid was nailed down, so that she would not hear the sound of the hammering.

When she awoke she demanded to see her child, but her husband replied through his tears, "We have closed the coffin; it had to be done."

"When God deals cruelly with me," she cried, "why should people treat me better!" And then she was overcome with bitter tears.

The coffin was carried to the grave; the inconsolable mother sat with her young daughters, but she looked at them without seeing them, for her thoughts had nothing more to do with her home. She resigned herself to sorrow, and it tossed her to and fro as the sea tosses the rudderless ship. Thus passed the day of the funeral, and several days followed, all dark with the same heavy monotony of sorrow.

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