At the end of the story, the baker offers Howard and Ann some bread to smell and taste. The description of the Weisses eating makes this scene resemble a religious ritual: “They swallowed the dark bread.” This act of sharing bread is suggestive of the religious ritual of the Holy Communion in the Christian faith, where a priest offers believers bread that symbolically represents or is believed to be the body of Christ. This adds depth to the connection created between the Weisses once they have shared their troubles.

It also suggests that the act of eating has a symbolic meaning – by nourishing the body, one implicitly sustains oneself, which could symbolically represent acceptance that life continues beyond suffering and death.

The number three, which often appears in the story, could be symbolic of the Holy Trinity, or reflect the three stages that the Weisses go through in the story. At first, they are a happy family; then, Scotty has his accident, and they have to wait, but he passes away. Finally, the end of the story sees them eating ...

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