Symbols in Patterns

Symbols Examples in Patterns :

Patterns 4

"asters..."   (Patterns)

Purple asters were laid on the graves of dead soldiers to symbolize the wish that things had turned out differently, that the soldiers were still alive. They were symbolic of not only death but the disbelief that accompanies death, the longing for a different outcome. The speaker imagines that the blue and yellow flowers of spring will be replaced by these asters. This metaphorically represents the speaker’s own transition from a young woman in the prime of her life to a woman with dashed hopes and nothing to anticipate but old age and death.

"pillared roses..."   (Patterns)

Red roses are symbolic of romantic love and intimacy; white roses represent mourning, loss, and sadness. Because the speaker does not specify the color of the roses that she imagines, the roses take on both meanings: they both represent her romantic love, and the loss of that love. In the context of the poem, these flowers take on an ironic significance that shows her ardent love, and the painful mourning that accompanies the loss of that love.

"By the stiffness of my gown...."   (Patterns)

In these lines the dress is shown literally holding her up as she walks in the garden. While she experiences grief and feels the need to collapse, the dress, symbolic of her society and the expectations that society holds for her, keeps her rigid to the pattern she must follow.

"As they please...."   (Patterns)

In addition to the phrase “as they please,” the verb “flutter” completes this image of the daffodils and squills living lives that are unfettered from rigid social patterns. This verb indicates motion that does not follow a prescribed path, which operates on a metaphorical level that contrasts with the sharply prescribed life of the speaker.