Childhood innocence is a concept portrayed within writing, television, and movies. A statement of innocence, naivety, and freedom from worries. The short story “The Flowers” by Alice Walker weaves a tale of a beautiful summer day and a young girl named Myop. With positive and negative connotations, she creates moods throughout the story. In “The Flowers” Alice Walker uses diction and imagery to create different moods.
Positivity is something we associate with kindness, happiness, cheerfulness, etc. In the first half of the story, Myop enjoys the “golden surprise” that is the summer day. Myop collects flowers, as well as explores the land her family owns. Walker describes Myop as feeling “light and good”. She is portraying the perfect example of childhood naivety. She wanders around the land, and she picks flowers as she goes. She remembers going around with her mother and picking acorns. This half of the story seems bright, happy, and silly. Some words that seem to support this idea are velvety, sweet, and bubbles. It creates the picture of a young girl relishing her day in the beautiful sun, acting as if she had no cares in the world. Seemingly, positivity is a mood given in the first half of this story.
Negativity, often portrayed as sadness or gloom, rears its ugly head in the second half of the story. While Myop wanders farther into the forest, collecting her flowers. As she realizes that it’s time to go home, she starts to head back, and “stepped smack into his eyes”. She was unafraid, ready to dislodge her heel from whatever was holding her. She looks down, and realizes she has stepped into the skull of a man. Walker illuminates Myop’s innocence by portraying her as unconcerned, until she realizes the man had been hung. As Myop lays down her flowers, Walker dramatizes the girl’s loss of naivety with the words “summer was over”. The mood of this half of the story seems gloomy, with word choices such as rotted, broken, and silence. The words sculpt an image of a horrified young girl who has just been changed by the awfulness of the world. Overall, negativity presents itself as a strong concept in the second half.
The clash of positive and negative in this piece bring together the envisionment of Myop’s journey past childhood and moving slowly into adulthood. She is shown the horrors of the world, furthermore bringing up the realization that her never ending summer is now over. With both cheerful and gloomy scenes, Walker paints the perfect moods to go with this story of a young girl.
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