The Dead Child

Significant Lines

1. “Why, oh why, did the memory of that dead child seek me out today in the very midst of the summer that sang?”

2. “I glanced again at that astonishing splash of pink in the melancholy landscape.”

3. “I studied the silent little face. A child who had loved books, solemnity, and decorous attire.”

4. “I realized suddenly that it was a mass of wild roses. In June they open in great sheets all over Manitoba, growing from the poorest soil.”

5. “A scent I have not much liked since the long ago June when I went to that poorest of villages-to acquire, as they say, experience.” Insightful Comments

6. Each flower/rose holds a precious memory.

7. Life is full of harsh moments. However the simple, yet precious things in life make up for the murky moments.

8. The flowers signify the hope, found in a place surrounded by darkness. ( The light at the end of the tunnel)

9. The value of a child’s memory is worth more than all the riches in the world.

10. Yolande, a rose grown from the poorest soil. A brilliant, pure, and innocent rose. The theme of “The Dead Child” by Gabrielle Roy is about how a simple action can have a massive impact on our surroundings. In other words never underestimate the power of a simple action. In the story we are introduced to a group of Métis students, who are under privileged and are taught in poor working environments. Already we can see that these students do not have very much – money wise-. Despite their lack of necessities they were still able to give the gift of kindness, respect and love to their close friend Yolande.

Their simple act of kindness not only changed their perspective on death but it also opened their hearts and allowed them to connect with their teacher throughout their moments of grief. By simply visiting Yolande before her burial helped the students cope with their misery and lift all the emotional weights from their tiny shoulders. Not only did they show others that Yolande was not alone but they also proved to themselves that they were strong enough to understand death. As they are picking the flowers they are reminded of the hope among them and that everything will be okay. I think the reason why this theme was used in the story is to allow readers to take the time to think about their actions and how it can affect themselves and their surroundings no matter how diminutive the action may be- like many people say actions always speak louder than words.

The face in my image is Yolande. The ribbons of colors caressing Yolande’s face represent all the feelings that were present throughout the story. Blue symbolizing sadness, white symbolizing purity, yellow symbolizes the imperfections in life and pink represents hope. The black background is the soil in which the roses grow out of and the same soil that will hold Yolande’s body where she too will become a rose. The large stream of rose petals represents the innocent and simple actions of the children. If you picture a stream they are usually calm and quiet but if you look closer streams are also abundant filled with life just like the students in the story.

The tiny bits of roses represent all the memories the children had with Yolande; each rose petal builds a larger rose. At the end of the story the children form a circle around Yolande and console themselves by telling one another “She must have got to heaven by this time.” Or “She must be happy now.” For a child to experience such a mature feeling is not only incredible but at the same time fascinating, and so all of these emotions have engraved their names onto the rose signifying an important moment in their lives, the moment when they learnt how to cope with grief and death.

As a result of their simple acts of kindness each child’s memory, feelings and actions make them a beautiful rose. All these relate back to the theme because they illustrate all the wondrous things the children and the teacher were able to experience and achieve through a simple action despite all the emotional, and mental struggles each character went through.

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