Growing Up in "The Flowers" by Alice Walker
In the coming-of-age story “The Flowers,” Alice Walker effectively portrays an endearing, innocent African American girl whose transition to adulthood comes suddenly and without warning. It begins with a rosy and light-hearted illustration of Myop’s life and closes with a gruesome, sobering event that changes her forever: she stumbles upon the body of an African-American man who, as she shortly comes to realize, was lynched for his skin color. With superb imagery, Walker shows how this discovery transforms Myop and forces her early entry into adulthood.
In the story’s first several paragraphs Walker introduces Myop and the scene as blissful and serene. “[Myop] skipped lightly…the days had never been as beautiful as these…worked out the beat of a song…she felt light and good in the warm sun.” Then, in the third paragraph, Walker begins to insert very subtle hints about what is to follow. For example, “Myop watched the tiny white bubbles disrupt the thin black scale of soil and the water that silently rose and slid away down the stream” is actually an allusion to the relation between white and black people. Myop, however, is obviously unaware of any greater symbolic importance; she is simply enjoying a day outdoors, observing...
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