Symbolism of Death by Abby Collier

861 Words2 Pages

In “Tradition, Modernity, & Postmodernity in Symbolism of Death”, Abby Collier argues that the symbolic representation of death has been redirected to a individualized representation of the deceased from a traditional representation, influenced by the social and cultural ways of dealing with death. The article discusses the evolution of the cemetery as social records, community and a postindustrial record, focusing on the transformation of the gravestones and memorialization of individuals through symbolic imagery. Collier insists that over the three distinct eras traditional, modern and postmodern, the symbols remain the same, while size, material and finish of gravestones differ. The cemetery is believed to be a reflection of life, symbolic of social structures or a replica of a living community. The sense of community in burial practices varies depending on inscriptions or markers, which experienced changes from the movement to industrial from to romantic era (Collier 729). Memorialization provides an insight to cultural trends, cultural pluralism in war memorials, and individual identification, by way of change in symbols over time. Collier finds that history is not relatable to individuals today, for the two perspectives regarding funerary art divide between postmodern with extreme change and one that prevails all eras. She suggests that, “the lack of cultural traditional guidelines leaves some individuals isolated and alienated” however, this notion holds a bias towards institutional funerary practices (Collier 730). The article focuses on the 150-year-old public cemetery, Stone Mountain, to map out the transition of gravestones over the years. The gravestones were categorized based on their symbolism, which was divided i... ... middle of paper ... ...ent. While the use of commemorative objects are minimal, with only a few flowers, Christmas refs and festive ornaments. The argument Collier regarding the symbolism and formal characteristics of the gravestones is consistent with those found in Camp Hill cemetery, with the exception of particular styles which she did not mention. The distinction between the eras is evident, but it must be noted that cultural influence assists in the changes and desired aesthetic of the gravestone. Overall Collier’s findings are cohesive and provide a standard guideline for interpreting the difference between gravestones from previous eras, the sense of community in burial practices and the progression of personalized symbolism. Works Cited Collier, C. D. Abby. "Tradition, Modernity, And Postmodernity In Symbolism Of Death." The Sociological Quarterly 44.4 (2003): 727-49. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes abby collier's article, "tradition, modernity, & postmodernity in symbolism of death", which discusses the evolution of the cemetery as social records, community and a postindustrial record.
  • Analyzes how collier's view of funerary art divides between postmodern and extreme change and one that prevails all eras.
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