Walker uses the positive imagery of “The Flowers” at the beginning of the novel to set up a naïve, sweet world in which a gruesome appearance of the lynched victim turns out to a reasonably unexpected, shocking event that robs Myop of her innocence. The first half of the text focuses on Myop’s childlike innocence with sweet kinesthetic imagery of Myop feeling “good and warm in the sun” to hit specifically on Myop’s childlike inhibitions. In the same case, sweet and gentle visual imagery continues to play in the first few paragraphs of a happy agricultural lifestyle where “each day a golden surprise” and a ten year old girl like Myop could “skip lightly from her house to pigpen” and bounce “this way and that way”. Myop’s joyful rapping of the stick that goes “tat-de-ta-ta-ta” enables auditory imagery to play on a merry sort of onomatopoeia that goes strongly with Myop’s innocence. Imagery had little direct prepa...
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...ort expectation for an ending that leads to the loss of innocence in the face of harsh reality after the Civil War.
Although imagery and symbolism does little to help prepare an expected ending in “The Flowers” by Alice Walker, setting is the singular element that clearly reasons out an ending that correlates with the predominant theme of how innocence disappears as a result of facing a grim realism from the cruel world. Despite the joyous atmosphere of an apparently beautiful world of abundant corn and cotton, death and hatred lies on in the woods just beyond the sharecropper cabin. Myop’s flowers are laid down as she blooms into maturity in the face of her fallen kinsman, and the life of summer dies along with her innocence. Grim realism has never been so cruel to the innocent children.
Walker Alice. Ed. Edward Proffitt. NY: Harcourt, 1988
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