Loss Of Innocence In The Flowers, By Alice Walker

1231 words - 5 pages

Innocence is something always expected to be lost sooner or later in life, an inevitable event that comes of growing up and realizing the world for what it truly is. Alice Walker’s “The Flowers” portrays an event in which a ten year old girl’s loss of innocence after unveiling a relatively shocking towards the end of the story. Set in post-Civil War America, the literary piece holds very particular fragments of imagery and symbolism that describe the ultimate maturing of Myop, the young female protagonist of the story. In “The Flowers” by Alice Walker, the literary elements of imagery, symbolism, and setting “The Flowers” help to set up a reasonably surprising unveiling of the gruesome ending, as well as to convey the theme of how innocence disappears as a result of facing the harsh reality of this world.
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 preparation in the appearance of the corpse, save for inferences that could be made when Walker uses kinesthetic and auditory imagery to introduce a contrasting world where “the air was damp” and “the silence close and deep”. Ultimately, however, imagery is used to focus on the gruesome scene splayed out before Myop, predominantly using visual imagery to build a picture of a black man who had “large white teeth”, “long fingers, and very big bones” before they were “cracked or broken”. The imagery of decay further suggests that something that had been clean and whole has now been tainted by the harsh reality of a cruel world, emphasized further in examples such as how “the buckles of the overalls had turned green” and “all his clothes had rotted away” as a direct visual contrast from “the peacefulness of the morning”. Through the use of contrasting imagery between a world of innocence and a world of decay, Walker shows how Myop is victimized of her innocent reality in the face of a surprise showing of a corpse victimized by a racist world.
A few particular sorts of visual imagery in “The Flowers” are also used as devices of symbolism to depict the theme of the disappearance of innocence as a result of meeting with the world’s...

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