Alice Walker's short short story "Flowers" is essentially a coming-of-age story that expresses the theme of loss of innocence. It opens with a young, innocent African-American girl, named Myop, feeling at peace with the world and ends with her realizing that the world is far from a peaceful place.
Myop's feelings of peace and happiness are depicted in Walker's descriptions of Myop skipping about her family's sharecropping farm, moving around "from hen house to pigpen to smokehouse," singing and playing with a stick as she goes. Her happiness is further depicted in her venture of picking wildflowers, a venture she becomes so engrossed in that it carries her a "mile or more from home." The farther she moves from the peace and security of home, the more she ventures into uncovering the harsh reality of the world.
Far away from home, she has an awakening when she discovers a deceased man. At first, she remains innocent and unperturbed; she even stoops to pick a wild rose growing near the body. However, her innocent gesture of picking the wild rose reveals to her the truth--the man had been hanged.
Since there are also clues in the story that help identify Myop's race as African American, such as the description of her "dark brown" skin and the fact her family owns a cabin that stands on a sharecrop farm, the reader can assume the deceased man had been the victim of a lynch mob.
By the end of the story, Myop "laid down her flowers" because, as soon as she realized the man was a victim of a lynch mob, she became overwhelmed. Hence, innocently picking the wild rose led her to painful revelations, and the more she understood about death and how the man died, the more she lost her innocence and her childhood, showing us the main theme is loss of innocence.
"The Flowers" by Alice Walker Essay
1491 WordsFeb 7th, 20126 Pages
“The Flowers” by Alice Walker is a short story written in the 1970’s. The story focuses on Myop, a ten year old African American girl who loves to explore the land in which she lives. Carefree and naïve, Myop decides to travel further away from her ‘Sharecropper cabin’ and travels deep inside the woods to unfamiliar land where she discovers the decomposed body of an African American man. It is then Myop quickly grows up and suddenly becomes aware of the world in which she lives. The story relies on setting and symbolism to convey the theme of departing innocence.
Firstly the author wants to create an astonishing and radient world in which Myop lives in with beautiful sceery and picturesque skies. To do this her descriptions of the…show more content…
Walker still continues to illustrate the setting throughout paragraph three where she says “silver ferns and wildflowers grew”. Again this tells the reader that Myop’s surroundings are beautiful, tranquil and peaceful. Alice then goes on to tell us that Myop lives in a “sharecropper cabin” which gives across a strong sense of safety as it is familiar and family orientated.
Added to this, the writer’s use of symbolism strengthens this idea of attractiveness and inexperience, Myop’s name being the main symbol. Myop is short for Myopia. The name given to short-sightedness. This is used as a metaphor as Myop’s naivety, then as the story goes on Myop opens her eyes to see what the real world is like and the author mentions her name less. Another symbol used in paragraph 2 is the “warm sun”. This symbolises the light and life of the world. It is a time when people are supposed to be awake and no body should be sleeping but this is later contrasted further on in the story. All the setting and scenery described gives an image of the Garden of Eden- paradise – a place everyone wants to be, where nothing bad can happen up until one critical moment when Eve eats the apple and everything forever changes. This gives the reader an insight in to the rest of the story but still leaves them wondering what could happen next.
However the atmosphere begins to change halfway through