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What effect does the title of the story have on the reader? Is the title fitting?

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japi | (Level 3) Honors

Posted June 8, 2010 at 5:31 AM via web

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What effect does the title of the story have on the reader? Is the title fitting?

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kalick | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 8, 2010 at 5:52 AM (Answer #1)

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Think about the images or feelings you associate with flowers.  Usually, flowers are a thing of beauty.  People give flowers to their loved ones or use them to decorate their own homes.  For most readers, seeing a title like "The Flowers" sets off a positive reaction.  We are expecting something light or upbeat, something beautiful and natural--and these expectations are initially met.  We enter the story with Myop, a young girl, skipping "lightly" and we learn "the days had never been as beautiful as these."

The mood begins to shift, though very subtly, as Myop watches out for snakes and finds herself in a "gloomy" place.

When you consider what Myop discovers towards the end of the story (a decayed skeleton) you must think back to how you felt at the beginning.  Often writers leave us with contrasting images in order to heighten the differences between two or more things.  What are the differences between flowers and skeletons?  Are these differences that Myop notices?

She seems to be a peculiar child and her reaction (or in this case non-reaction) makes the shift from light and upbeat to gloomy and alarming even more drastic.

As you read the last line, think about the symbolic meaning behind the end of summer.  This can really be read as a story about childhood and innocence.  How does the end of summer coincide with the end of those things for Myop?

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