The Flower

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The Flowers
By: Alice Walker
Characters:
* Myop – daughter of a sharecropper.
* Dead man – an old corpse found in the woods.
Setting:
* Farm – where the parents of Myop work.
* Woods – where Myop wanders to find flowers.
Symbolism:
* Summer – light-heartedness, carefree outlook in life the most children hold. * Flower – innocence, universal symbol of joy and life. * Dead man – loss of innocence, reality of life.
* Noose – impossibility of remaining innocent.
* Snakes – adult situations.
* Woods – dreaded unknown.
Theme:
* All people try to hang onto childhood innocence, but at some undeniable point the innocence disappears in us all. Short Summary:
Myop is happy and carefree as she skips around her family's cabin playing with the animals. She does not look beyond the splendor of her free and comfortable childhood. On this day she decides to explore the woods as she had done many times with her mother in late autumn while gathering nuts. Myop then leaves the safety and peacefulness of her family's sharecropper cabin to search for new and wonderful flowers. This summer morning she makes her own path and finds herself about a mile from home in unfamiliar surroundings. The cove she had come upon was gloomy, damp and had a mysterious silence. In her quest to recapture the happiness of the morning, and find her way back to her cabin, she stumbles onto the remains of a man who had clearly been killed in a lynching. She sees the brittleness of his death when she discovered his "large white teeth, all of them cracked or broken" showing that might have been beaten before his murder. She then looks up at a tree and sees the rotted remains of a noose. "Myop laid down her flowers" was a sign of releasing her youthfulness, as she was forced to face one of the unavoidable truths. The destruction of her childhood innocence was recognized at the end of the story with the statement "And the summer was over."  Alice Walker...
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