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Immaculate Conception

Essay by review  •  March 23, 2011  •  Essay  •  799 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,347 Views

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If the phrase "immaculate conception" where to be dissected into two separate words, it's meaning would no longer have the same implications. "Immaculate" is something that is pure, free from fault or error; and "conception" is something conceived in the mind, an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances. However the phrase "immaculate conception" derives from the Roman Catholic Church. It is the doctrine that the Virgin Mary was conceived free from all strain of original sin. In Katherine Gover's "The Immaculate Conception Photography Gallery," the meaning of the title as a phrase and the meaning of the title as individual words applied to the denouements in the story are important to understanding the author's message to her readers.

Gover uses religious connotations throughout the story, "immaculate conception" being the most prevalent. The name of the photography gallery, "The Immaculate Conception" is a little ironic; "immaculate conception" is the idea of being free from all strain of original sin, yet; the wedding pictures displayed in the front window of the gallery have "a haze of concupiscence" (690) which validates that the doctrine of "immaculate conception" is falsifiable. The photographs and the gallery's name are contradictory. The pictures do not depict the purity and naivetй that the Virgin Mary symbolizes. The use of Roman Catholicism through the phrase "immaculate conception" demonstrates, through the pictures in the window display, to the reader, that being free from all strain of original sin is imposturous.

Photographs have different meanings; they convey memories from generation to generation. These memories are to be cherished and valued. No matter the unimaginable occurrences, one should never have to discard or alter a photograph in order to abjure that undesired memory. This, however; is not the case in this short story. Almost every customer demands Sandro to erase a person or persons from their pictures in order to put them into extinction:

"the pain she has caused! [...]. It was Diora's mother's very own miserable wages saved these eighteen years that had paid for these photographs! [...]. The money was spent, but the joy was spoiled. When she and Diora's father looked at the row of faces flanking bride and groom there she was--Alicia, the whore!" (691).

Diora's mother is furious that her daughter has been a victim of infidelity and now she believes that expunging Alicia from the picture will eradicate any pain and damage that she has caused to Diora. The pictures, once they are played God with, are no longer "immaculate" but a "conception" to one's memory.

The words "immaculate" and "conception" used separately have different meanings as opposed to used together. The photographs that Sandro tampers with are no longer "immaculate" because "[he's acting] like a plastic surgeon" (691) however, "[...] it isn't a face [he's] fixing, it's a memory" (691). The pictures are no longer pure, free from fault or error they are now fake and untrue.

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