In Season 7, Episode 4, called “Service,” Father Gabriel had the quick thinking to fake Maggie’s death before Negan’s arrival. Father Gabriel dug a grave-size hole and then filled it back in with a representative tombstone for Maggie.

This was useful when Negan arrived. Not surprisingly, he mentioned taking Maggie back with him, but the quick thinking gang told Negan that Maggie had died due to grief and pregnancy complications.

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMCThe Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Symbolism on The Walking Dead

Burials and funerals are very important on the show. While Maggie hasn’t actually been killed yet, it would appear that whenever someone dies and doesn’t turn on the show, they receive a proper burial. Walkers, however, simply fall where they lie.

Digging a whole for a grave takes time. It’s almost insane to take the time to bury someone because you risk so many factors using that time and energy to bury a six-foot hole.

This symbolism is what makes the survivors of the aftermath alive. It relates, at least in some way, to the Judeo-Christian belief that human dignity continues after death, so how how they handle a decomposing body is important.

But there seems to be a difference with an animated body. When the infection kicks in and the dead become undead, there is a quick timeline as to whether or not this walker-version of a person gets a proper burial.

The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMCThe Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Horrific Fates on The Walking Dead

Many of the survivors who are truly facing death wish to be killed before they turn. This comes back to being buried or turning into a walker. This is also why Negan’s Sanctuary fence of rule-breakers are made up of walkers. No one wants this fate.

There are other symbols within the show that can be argued as keeping the gang alive or slowing them down. Carol comments on missing her washing machine in one of the first seasons. Andrea steals a necklace that she cherishes. Then, of course, there is Rick’s hat. He constantly goes back for this Sheriff’s hat that resembles his past life until he finally gives it to Carl, who still wears it.

These items seem to represent a social status of things that separate the living from the dead. Humans cherish things. Outside of materialism, these sentimental items represent love or other relationship-type meanings.

The show continues to wrap these ideas of what it means to be alive around elements in each episode. The series revolves around the group’s struggle to retain their humanity and they do so, at least briefly, with symbolic items and proper burials.

It’s amazing that a show like Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead can bring out such human emotions. The dead bodies on the show matter morally, both as once living people and also metaphysically, as members of the human condition as a whole. If the group views the remains of their friends as materials, then they will have lose their entire humanity. This is also what separates Rick’s gang from Negan’s Sanctuary.

Rick and the gang understand the sanctity of life, even if they have to take lives in the process to live alive.