Stay and Fight Symbols & Objects

Madeline ffitch
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Sheepsfoot Blade

Karen’s sheepsfoot blade symbolizes the survival of her family in the context of their rural home. The blade is first introduced with the name “sheepsfoot blade” when Karen describes her whittling practice to Helen (18). Sheepsfoot blades were originally used to trim the hooves of sheep, hence the name. However, in the beginning of Part 2, Perley calls his mother’s blade a “sheep-killing” knife, illustrating its role as a hunting weapon after its introduction as a symbol of the creation of Helen, Lily, and Karen’s new life together (78). This shift in language shows the dual role of Karen in the family as both a provider and a killer. At the end of the novel, these two roles are merged into one as Karen uses the sheepsfoot blade to cut the head off a snake during the snake ritual, thus killing the black snake which...

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This section contains 1,736 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Stay and Fight Study Guide
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