The Wedding-Knell Themes & Motifs

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Mortality

The story can be read as a parable about embracing mortality. The central tension is on Mrs. Dabney’s own futile denial of time, aging, and death. When Mrs. Dabney is first introduced in the story, the narration focuses on this denial as one of her central character traits. Mrs. Dabney has been widowed twice, and she is childless. The narration notes that she “refused to grow old and ugly on any consideration; she struggled with Time, and held fast her roses in spite of him” (18). Mrs. Dabney consistently arranges her actions and self-presentation around this denial. For example, during the wedding, she wears a resplendent wedding dress that does not appear to suit her age, and her wedding party is made up entirely of young people. However, the visibility of her age acts as a consistent reminder of the inevitability of mortality.

The story’s...

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This section contains 1,356 words
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