The Flowers Questions and Answers
by Alice Walker

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What is the significance of the name "MYOP" in The Flowers?

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Ester Baumgartner, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Myop's name probably indicates that she is, figuratively, "short-sighted," or myopic. In Alice Walker's short story "The Flowers," Myop does not remain short-sighted but only begins the story that way.

At the start of "The Flowers," Myop is an innocent, carefree child living in a post-Civil War world where many African Americans in the South are sharecroppers. Their jobs were difficult and did not yield much financial gain, and they also still had to deal with the racism of the world around them. It seems that Myop's parents, however, have protected her from this reality. She joyfully prances around the natural world and seems to have an almost idyllic childhood. 

However, Myop goes farther than usual one day, and she comes across a decayed corpse. It is implied that the corpse was a man—a sharecropper—who was lynched, as there is a rotting noose at the scene as well. This discovery opens Myop's eyes to the tragedies and the dangers of the world from which she has been thus far protected. The end of the story states that the summer was over, which figuratively means that Myop has grown up as a result of her experience. She is no longer short-sighted and understands something about the world that she did not know at the start of "The Flowers."

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linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think the previous answerer meant to say Myopia, which is the medical name for nearsightedness. However, Myopathy, which is a muscular disease, fits the character as well. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines myopathy as a neuromuscular disorder

in which the primary symptom is muscle weakness due to dysfunction of muscle fiber. Other symptoms of myopathy can include include muscle cramps, stiffness, and spasm.

Ordinarily when a 10-year-old child--or a person of any age--not just discovers a dead body but actually steps on it, the response would be horror. We expect her to run screaming to tell someone. Myop, however, just reaches down to pull her shoe out of the man's head, as if her reactions are dysfunctional. She even continues to pick flowers. The only thing that seems to move her is the sight of the noose around the dead man's neck.

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renelane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Myop could be short for myopathy. Myopathy is a condition that leaves a person with short-sightedness. Myop revels in her own world. She takes pleasure in her family, but might not see it as clearly as she should.

There is also the issue of racism. Myop could be short-sighted in the fact that racism is already a part of her life. She tends not to look into things to deeply.

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parama9000 | Student

She does not feel as most children do. She does not see very far into the dead man and is only concentrated on picking flowers.

laconic-platonic | Student

Myop is a very Naive character and Myopic means to have a lack of foresight or discernment or a narrow view of something she only sees the what's right in front of her until she runs into the body . It's not a life changing experience but she loses some of her childish innocence.