The Thorn Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

The Thorn Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

beauteous heap

This could symbolise her dead infants grave, hence why she visits and cries "Oh Misery". The grave is hidden out of site ina remote location, thereby suggestign only she knows of its existence, and perhaps was forced to kill it due to social stigma.


The rose is described as being overgrown and hidden from sight. It is a beautiful plant but has been coated with ugly things in order to hide it. This suggests that Martha tried to keep the child out of society's way and the only way she could do that, perhaps, was through getting rid of the child.

Scarlet cloak

The Scarlet cloak that Martha wears can signify her affair outside of marriage, which resulted in a child. Similarities can be drawn with The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, where the colour red is a prevalent symbol for a seductress and adulterer.


The weather is a symbol for the despair that Martha is experiencing. Rain, frost, snow are all cold elements and are juxtaposed with Martha's strong feelings of obvious love and adoration for the child.

The Hill

Th hill itself is described as part of the infant's body parts. For example; the 'tufts of moss' represent the hair, the grass-it shook' suggest the baby's movement, 'cries coming from the mountain head' symbolises the baby's face, crying for its mother.

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