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Analyzing Gravestone Motifs: American’s Changing Attitude Towards Death

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Analyzing Gravestone Motifs: American’s Changing Attitude Towards Death. Gravestone Timeline Presentation. Teacher Presentation 1F. Plain Style Motif. Time Period: 1640-1710 Attitude: “resignation” Characteristics: name, date, little or no decoration

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analyzing gravestone motifs american s changing attitude towards death

Analyzing Gravestone Motifs:American’s Changing Attitude Towards Death

Gravestone Timeline Presentation

Teacher Presentation 1F

plain style motif
Plain Style Motif
  • Time Period: 1640-1710
  • Attitude: “resignation”
  • Characteristics: name, date, little or no decoration
  • Reason: Colonists had few tools, skills or money
death s head motif
Death’s Head Motif
  • Time Period: 1670-1770
  • Attitude: “fear” and “religious reverence”
  • Characteristics: human skull, wings, name, dates
  • Reason: In New England the Puritan religion was popular and emphasized a fear of death that focused on the deceased’s chances of getting into heaven
cherub motif
Cherub Motif
  • Time Period: 1740-1820
  • Attitude: “confidence”
  • Characteristics: human face, wings, name, dates
  • Reason: Between c. 1735-1750 the Great Awakening (a religious revival) changed attitudes towards death from the grim Death’s Head to the more optimistic, angelic cherub
urn and willow motif
Urn and Willow Motif
  • Time Period: 1780-1850
  • Attitude: “mourning”
  • Characteristics: drooping tree, urn, name, dates
  • Reason: Sorrow for the death of a person
monuments
Monuments
  • Time Period: 1840-1920
  • Attitude: “defiance” and “wealth”
  • Characteristics: large shapes, statues, sculptures, columns or crosses, accomplishments, names, dates
  • Reason: To remind us, not of a person’s death, but of their past life
garden style markers
Garden Style Markers
  • Time Period: 1900- Present
  • Attitude: “denial”
  • Characteristics: small, flat, name, dates, little or no decoration
  • Reason: Does not draw attention to the dead; cemeteries resemble gardens or parks, not burial grounds
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