The process of maturing and gaining knowledge is a long one. Each person reaches a time in their life when they have reached adulthood, maturity, and the knowledge that comes with it, but the journey requires "going through a kind of initiation into the mysteries of adult life."(Brooks 3136) Katherine Anne Porter's "The Grave," uses the symbols the dove, the ring, the rabbit, and the grave to express the main character's journey from innocence to knowledge. From the innocence of the dove, the luxury of the golden ring, to the mystery of birth and death through the many "graves," Miranda loses her innocence and becomes a knowledgeable young woman.
Miranda at the young age of nine is as innocent as can be. She has no realization for the criticisms upon her family for the way she has been raised, wearing her "summer roughing outfit: dark blue overalls, a light blue shirt, a hired-man's straw hat, and thick brown sandals", (Porter 364) running around the woods hunting rabbits and doves with her twenty-two Winchester rifle. On one excursion through the woods, she and her brother stumble upon the old family cemetery and decide to explore. After rummaging through the empty graves, "she saw a silver dove no larger than a hazel nut with spread wings and a neat fan-shaped tail."(Brooks 3135), "Miranda's brother recognizes what the curious little ornament is--the screw head for a coffin."(3135) This small silver dove was, in a sense, Miranda's soon to be shed innocence. .
Paul also made a discovery of his own while searching through the emptied graves; he had found "a thin wide gold ring carved with intricate flowers and leaves."(Porter 363) Miranda is enamored at the sight of it and wishes to have it, and her brother is more pleased with the dove. The two decide to trade and Miranda looks down at the ring, which now "shining with the serene purity of fine gold on the little girl's rather grubby thumb, turned her against overalls and sockless feet.