Alice Walker "Revolutionary Petunias"

Topics: Writing, Petunia, Shanghai Metro Pages: 2 (798 words) Published: October 8, 2012
A Stand for Change

In Alice Walker’s “Revolutionary Petunia” the author has portrayed Sammy Lou as a poor, black lady who revenged her husband’s murder. The writer describes Sammy Lou’s actions as a fight for freedom and change from the horrible manner in which she and others are treated. She is portrayed as a “militant” (line 9) that is strong and proud. Sammy Lou is a “cultivator” and has taken justice into her own hands. The use of the “cultivator hoe” represents her fight for justice and freedom from oppression. The murder that she committed has started a change for a better life. The author’s use of the petunias are symbols of Sammy Lou’s life, pride and her stand for change. First, the petunia is a good representation of Sammy Lou’s life. She has endured a harsh typical life for a southern black woman. She has cultivated the land to provide food and raise her children in circumstances not exactly ordinary. The nature of the flower is to live and thrive against all elements of nature. The poet compares the physical nature of the flower to Sammy Lou. In other words, she wants those around her not to “forgit to water [her] purple petunias” (line 26). The beauty of the flower will be strong and continue to thrive and will not give up. She wants her children and others that surround her to continue her fight even after she is gone. She reflects upon what is important to her as she is taken to the place she will die. The petunia will live on and so will her fight against those that try to hold her back. She is proud of the achievements she has accomplished. Secondly, Sammy Lou is a proud woman that holds the love of God and her children close to her heart. The purple petunia is strong and beautiful the same as her love for God and her family. She urges her children to “respect the word of God” (line 22). Her loss of trust for others has not robbed the pride she has in her Christian faith. Although Sammy Lou is a poor lady that has “funeral...
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