The Forest of Hands and Teeth Imagery

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Imagery


In the novel, marriage is not presented in a positive light. The only reason why people wanted to get married was to have as many children as possible. The girl could chose to deny a suitor but then she would find herself in the situation of remaining alone and having to become a Sister out of necessity. Thus, marriage is portrayed in the novel as an institution that has only a practical purpose, that of producing a future generation.

Footsteps in the snow

In the winter of the first year when Mary was staying at the Cathedral, she woke up one morning to see footsteps coming from the forest, passing the gates and then coming towards the Cathedral. The sight of the footsteps is important because they made Mary understand that there were people living outside the fence and that her village was not the only one.

Injured leg

Shortly after Mary became a member of the Cathedral and became a sister, one of the boys she used to fancy named Travis is brought in as a patient. The reason why is he allowed to stay in the cathedral is because his leg got injured in unknown circumstances. During his stay, Mary had to take care of him so she was able to see just how injured his leg was. The image of the injured leg is important because it shows that in comparison with the zombies, the humans were extremely fragile and prone to getting hurt and getting killed.

Dragged away

After Mary’s mother got infected by the zombies, she was put into a cage until she turned into a zombie herself. Mary decided to stay by her side until her mother died and keep her company. When Mary’s mother died, the guardians dragged her body into the woods and let it there. The image of the dead body left in the woods is important for Mary because it represents for her the moment when she lost her faith in God.

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