Response to Alice Walker, "The Flowers": Surprise

8:43 PM

If you'd like to take part in this discussion with me, feel free to read The Flowers, by Alice Walker here.

When I used read stories in my high school English classes, I could always assume that they would lead to some sort of coming of age. After all, we were in high school and those were the kinds of stories that they wanted us to read as we came of age ourselves. In a way, the stories then were comforting. They let me know that I was not alone in my struggles to understand the vast complexities of our world.

Now they scare me. Here I am reading Alice Walker's The Flowers in my dorm room, thinking how nice it was to be a child as I read, "She was ten, and nothing existed for her but her song, the stick clutched in her dark brown hand, and the tat-de-ta-ta-ta of accompaniment." That sentence made me feel so good inside. I didn't have any idea what would come next in this short story, but I thought it would be good.

Instead (spoiler alert), young Myop finds herself making "her own path" and coming in contact with a dead corpse. She's puzzled at this corpse, and instead of screaming she looks so as to investigate it. She finds a rose with a decaying noose around it's root. That shocked me. Of all of the things I expected Myop to do in the forest, her finding death (and by such evil ways) was the last thing that I'd ever expected. I don't know why I was so surprised. I had read things like this for the last four years of my life and every time they seemed normal, for what I was going through. The story ends with the sentence, "And the summer was over."

I was instantly filled with a feeling of sadness. Young people are so innocent, and they do not deserve to see the things that happen in todays world sometimes. Myop discovers death while she's looking for life in form of flowers. It can happen at the least expected times, when we are dancing with the light and suddenly our partner is gone and replaced with Darkness.

However unfair I might think it is, Myop was interested in what she found. Young people are all interested in these sorts of things; I know that I was. That's why I must remember that it comes time to grow up. Growing up happens at different ages for everyone, but there's a reason it happens, and most of the time it's for the better.

At least I think so right now. Had I not realized the things I realized when I was younger, I would not be the same person today. But for me to say that about everyone is too much. Perhaps others see it differently.

Do you?

(My college lit book advised that I begin keeping a journal of my responses to the literature that I read, so that's exactly what I'm doing! I hope you enjoy, if you're reading!)

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