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("The Flowers" by Alice Walker)
Transcript of ("The Flowers" by Alice Walker)
A dead black man who has been hanged. He is decapitated by the lynching and by hanging for so long. His body is in decay but it is evident that he was a tall, big-boned man. The sight of him, alerts Myop to the presence of evil in the world.
Is ten too young to realize the horrors of racism and violence in the world?
Analysis of the Main Character
Point of View
In the beginning we see everything that's innocent. Everything "seems" happy, warm and inviting. The air has a "keenness" about it while the "warm" sun is about. The whole setting is expressed as a "golden surprise". The setting and atmosphere paint a picture of Myop, an innocent little girl enjoying the outdoors. She is skipping and collecting flowers and ferns as she skips along. Walker needs us to see such beauty in the world along with such innocence in order to set us up for the facts of life that Myop discovers in the woods.
The turning point is then when the mood changes with the words like "damp" and "gloom." And then she discovers the skull.
The atmosphere changes from happy, "beautiful," "golden", and peaceful to a "rotted" and twisted atmosphere near the end.
Inspirational Quotes by Alice Walker
Alice Walker was born on February 9, 1944 in Putnam Country, Georgia.
Eighth child of Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Lou Tallulah.
Her father worked as sharecropper and her mother as a maid, to bring income into the family.
The time in which Alice Walker was raised was time of slavery and violent racism.
Her parents tried to keep Alice from realizing the truth about their life but she was keen on figuring it out.
Just like Alice Walker the main character, Myop, was also a young African girl who lived with her family of poor sharecroppers.
She too realized at a young age how cruel life can really be.
Some of Alice Walker's other works include: The Color Purple, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, By the Light of My Father's Smile, Now Is The Time To Open Your Heart, and The Temple of My Familiar.
An innocent, ten-year-old black girl at the start of the story, enjoying a walk, humming and picking wild flowers on a wonderful day. She has no cares in the world. She discovers a dead man and is unafraid. She proceeds to collect a flower and discovers a noose, and in the tree, some remains of the rope. She lays down her flowers: and the innocence is lost
Her character develops to include curiosity, wisdom, thoughtfulness, and maturity.
Myop setting down her flowers near the dead body, shows her maturity. In doing this, she is giving up her summer, which also concludes the character’s innocence.
The protagonist of the story is an innocent, ten years old black girl called
She enjoys a walk and gathers flowers on a nice day. She has no cares in the world and she is totally happy.
between Myop and society is suggested in the details of the world around her when she discovers a tall, big-boned dead black man who has been killed and hanged by rope on a tree, and she also finds a noose thrown in grass.
She lays down her flowers: innocence is lost and
is aware by now of the presence of evilness in the world.
From that day forth, it is implied that Myop resolves to view the world and society around her with a less golden glow.
The simple title of "The Flowers" starts the reader on a positive note, but then the reader starts to, perhaps, perceive that not everything is idyllic in the story.
Alice Malsenior Walker (1944 )
one of the most significant and outspoken black women writers in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Her Personal Life
Alice Walker was born on 9 February 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia, the eighth and youngest child of Minnie Grant Walker and Willie Lee Walker. Both parents were sharecroppers (sometimes referred to as the 'new slavery') and life was tough.
In her early years Alice was a spirited and confident child until the age of eight, when one of her brothers shot her with a gun, leaving her blind in one eye and disfigured by scar tissue.
Teased by other children, she became shy and withdrawn, but this led her to books and she began to write her own stories and poems.
At the age of 14 a doctor removed Alice's scar tissue and transformed her appearance, but she continued to carry the emotional scars of this experience.
She married a white Jewish lawyer, Mel Leventhal, with whom she had a daughter, Rebecca, in 1969. They lived in Mississippi until divorcing in 1977, when Walker moved to California, which remains her home.
Walker's Literary Works
She is best known for her novels, particularly The Color Purple (1982), which won the Pulitzer Prize, but she also writes poetry, short stories, essays and autobiographical pieces.
Her total work is 34 publications , and the last work, There is a flower at the tip of my nose smelling me, was published in 2006 .
Walker has also edited various collections, and she is particularly noted for her recovery of the works of Zora Neale Hurston, who has been one of her greatest influences and inspirations. Walker edited the highly acclaimed collection, I Love Myself When I Am Laughing .. and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader (1979). Walker's other influences include Flannery O'Connor and Virginia Woolf.
Comments on Walker's Style of Writing
Walker is acclaimed for her significant role in the development of African-American literature, and particularly for her revolutionary stance in articulating the experiences and the particular oppressions of the black female -- and in so doing, attacking black patriarchy as well as white dominance. The forms and structures of her fiction, along with its thematic concerns, have helped to create a distinctive style through which to express African-American experience.
Walker's fiction is mostly realist, but this is sometimes interwoven with spiritual and supernatural elements. Also, she tends to avoid linear narratives and other conventions that she feels are part of white Western literary traditions. Instead, her work shows the influence of nineteenth-century slave narratives as well as that of black folklore and the culture of oral storytelling. She has also been acclaimed for her authentic rendering of African-American dialect.
Walker prefers to use the term 'womanist', as opposed to 'feminist‘ in her writing , to refer to a black feminist, making the point that white Western feminism has its limitations and often fails to understand the viewpoint and experiences of women from different cultures.
One of the significant criticisms of Walker's work in general is her tendency to take a sentimental and sometimes preachy tone.
The lose of innocence:
Myop travels beyond her usual boundaries, suggesting that she is leaving the known for the unknown. This kind of travel is often a suggestion of loss of innocence.
When Myop continues her walk and collects pretty flowers we still think that she is in a state of innocence, but when she picks the pink rose and steps into the human skull, we realize that not only is the skull now shattered, so is her innocence.
She is literally looking at the face of death. She lays her flowers down in a gesture of respect for the dead, but, when she looks up and sees what remains of the noose, the last of her innocence is gone.
The last sentence clearly indicates a complete end of summer, but the meaning is the complete end of innocence for Myop.
Myop discoveres an actual dead person in the forest, and has to come to the harsh reality that people die, and sometimes in horrible and cruel ways.
However, death is presented symbolically also. After her discovery of the noose, Myop's childhood, innocence and naivety die. Walker symbolizes the death of Myop's childhood by having Myop lay her flowers down on the ground, almost like she is not only at the gravesite of the dead man, but at the gravesite of her former happiness and childhood.
So, she realizes that she lives in a harsh, cruel world where her innocence could no longer thrive.
This symbolic death of Myop's innocence is further symbolized by Walker's last line, "And the summer was over." The summer is typically associated with carefree happiness, life in full bloom; ending the summer symbolizes the death of Myop's full-bloomed happiness.
Wild flowers of different colors are being picked by Myop. The flowers represent innocence, life, and the beauty of life. Myop is the same way; she is young, naive, and completely unaware to the fact that many people were lynched and hanged, simply because they were black, people that she might have known, that lived close to her.
Then, at the end, when it says "Myop laid down her flowers," it symbolizes how she laid down her innocence and childhood. She turned a corner to adulthood and was never able to go back. Giving up the flowers meant that she was also leaving behind her naivety and ignorance.
which also represents innocence and childhood; at the end, it says that "the summer was over" for Myop; her childhood was over
Represents death, and shows that even though he was once a big, strong man, this had no bearing on preventing his own death.
Yasmeen Aboutaleb - Duaa El-Seed
Myop - the girl's name- is short for "myopia" an eye condition where one cannot see things far away (near-sightedness). Little Myop cannot see beyond the beauty of her carefree childhood.
However, one summer morning her romping takes her farther from home than she'd ever been before. She does not realize (due to her myopia) the remains of a hanged man until she quite bumps into him.
The man was a laborer, which is clear from "some threads of blue denim" from his overalls and the "shredding plowline" that is found in the earth.
The brutality of his death is uncovered in the details: "large white teeth, all of them cracked or broken" indicates that he had been beaten before his murder.
The story concludes with "And the summer was over." The young negro girl has lost her innocence, her myopia.