Mostly Dead Things Symbols & Objects

Kristen Arnett
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Taxidermy

Throughout the novel taxidermy symbolizes an obsession with holding on to what is past, the attempt to enliven what has died. Jessa's work since she was a child in her family's taxidermy shop causes her to rely heavily on the craft as a means of understanding herself. In the same way that Jessa pours all of her energy and attention into each animal, she clings with similar intensity to memories of her father and Brynn. Unable to confront her own interior, to let go of the past, Jessa holds onto what has already ended, what is incapable of being fully revitalized. The author, therefore, uses taxidermy as a representation of Jessa's emotional and psychic relationships with loss and grief.

Prentice's Boar

The boar Prentice made that Lucinda purchases for Libby's showcase, represents destruction of the sacred. Because the boar is one of the last remaining pieces...

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This section contains 1,007 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Mostly Dead Things Study Guide
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