From the plots to analyzesymbolic meanings of rope in Rope


校园英语·下旬 2017年7期


The author of this story is Katherine Anne Porter who is a female short story writer. Basicaaly, this story is about spat between a couple, the cause of spat is husband forgets to buy coffee which is requested by wife. Through this story, “rope” is a vital clue for the whole process of story.

Therefore, in this story, four phases of story would be used to analyze the symbolic meanings of “rope”; they are exposition, conflict, climax and denouement. They will be help to analyze the symbolic meanings of “rope” in this story.

1. Exposition: a trivial thing in marriage life.

In the exposition of the story, the woman wants her husband to buy coffee, but his husband just buys a rope for her. She is very angry at him. Through reading the exposition of the story, we inevitably think about the symbolic meaning of “rope”.

Basically, compare with “coffee”, the “rope” means the necessities of life. Coffee is higher luxury but the rope is a basic thing at home. Hence, on the one hand, “rope” is reflected that trivial things and the universal contradictions in spousal life. Consequently, coffee means higher quality of life. The women, very occasionally wants to drink coffee but it is ignored by her husband. Therefore, she is unhappy. Hence, we can infer that the gaps always in between real world and imaginable world, they must be reconciled in spousal life. Ultimately, the difference of real and ideal spousal life makes the contradictions. Inevitably, wifes pity exists in gaps.

On the whole, the exposition of the story, the author uses the “rope” as a clue for the spousal spat; the symbolic meaning is the trivial things in marriage life.

2. Conflict and climax: the gap in the mind of different gender

When it comes to symbolic meaning, this part will be further discussed the “rope”. In the story of conflict and climax, more things make the wife unsatisfied with him, she even crying. Nonetheless, the man thinks that they just minor things and cannot understand the thinking of his wife. Therefore, the “rope” stimulates the contradiction in marriage life. Its symbolic meaning is the line of different minds between the woman and man.

Therefore, from the plot of conflict and climax, we can know the “rope” means the gap between the minds of different gender. The symbolic meaning of “rope” is further meaningful with the development of the story.

3. Denouement: the bond of spousal life

Eventually, they are reconciled in the end of spat. There are several sentences can illustrate the plots. “When he came back she was leaning against the post box beside the road waiting…her face was young and smooth and fresh-looking”. We can imagine the love painting is always existed in their hearts. And then, after the wife sees the coffee in husbands hand, “Well, it was the rope again”. The rope is become the clue of the plot again. “They exchanged wary smiles. Coffee, coffee for the Ootsum-Wootsums! He felt as if he were bringing her a beautifulpresent.” Therefore, the “rope” becomes a connection between them.

Through above sentences, the “rope” is the bond of marriage. Behind in the bond of marriage, it is love, generosity and understanding connecting as a bond of spousal life.

4. Conclusion

On the whole, the course paper is analyzing the symbolic meanings of rope from the plots. In the plot, exposition, conflict, climax and denouement represent different symbolic meanings of rope.

In exposition, “rope” means the trivial things in spousal life. It contrasts to the higher quality life of the spiritual world. In conflict and climax, the “rope” means the different minds of diverse genders in marriage and contradiction in marriage. For denouement, it means the bond of marriage, which implicates the love, understanding and generosity. It can recover all of the negative things in married life.

Hence, we can analyze from the plot to clarify the symbolic of “rope”, they have abundant meanings to be discovered.


[1]Robert Penn Warren.Katherine Anne Porter:A Collection of Critical Essays[C].Prentice,1979:93.


[3]Darlene HarbourUnrue:Katherine Anne Porter s Poetry[C].The University of South Carolina Press,1996:5.

[4]Howard Baker.The Upward Path:Notes on the Work of Katherine Anne Porte[J].The Southern Review,1968:2.

[5]Robert Penn Warren:Uncorrupted Consciousness[J].Yale Review,1965(55):280.



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