Coffins recur throughout the novel, first in a series of flashbacks that Hazel has of the funerals of his various family members. He is always convinced that they will escape just before the lid can be closed, and they never do. Coffins represent the ultimate trap—death—and the collapse of Hazel’s family.
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The timeline below shows where the symbol Coffins appears in Wise Blood. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...he wishes the darkness were absolute. Half asleep, he feels like he is in a coffin. Hazel remembers the first coffin he ever saw, which contained his grandfather, a fierce country... (full context)