How does the story "The Flowers" by Alice Walker relate to society?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On its surface, and almost until the very end, "The Flowers" seems to be a sweet little tale about a girl, Myop, who is enjoying a stroll through the forest.  She is young, happy, innocent and unaware of any world beyond her own.  However, the world that she lives in is in reality a harsh one, where people do horrible things to each others.  That world, and her innocent, happy one collide the moment she discovers the noose and realizes that she just ran across a black man who had been hanged.  It was then that her happy little world was shattered, and she realized that bad things existed in her society.

The story appears to be set at a time when lynching and hangings of black people were fairly common.  So, anywhere from the late 1800's through the 1960's.  Society at this time had abolished slavery, but racism and act of violence against black people still existed.  In Myop's society, her people were often innocent victims to the racist beliefs of society at that time, and she realizes this a little bit at the very end of the story.  The last line, "And the summer was over," is not meant literally, but symbolically.  It represents how Myop's childhood, her innocence and happiness were over, because she realized the type of society that she lived in.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!