The Flowers Questions and Answers
by Alice Walker

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What are the symbols and their representations in "The Flowers," by Alice Walker? What is the significance of the word flowers in the title?

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There are many symbolic references related to nature in this story, so I'll focus my efforts there since the previous educators have given a great explanation of some of the others.

Cotton appears in the very first paragraph, and that's an important symbol because we know that Myop's family are sharecroppers. Cotton is a weighty symbol in American culture; on one hand, it is fundamental to many of the fabrics in our lives. Its white softness connotes a sense of purity. However, cotton farming in the South was successful in large part because of the work of slaves and sharecroppers, both groups of people toiling endlessly while their masters or landowners prospered in comfort. Cotton symbolizes the duality of Myop's childhood and foreshadows the transformation she will undergo by the end of the story.

Myop follows a fence until it reaches a spring . Water can symbolize various things in literature, but here it represents life. Her family obtains their drinking water from this spring, and...

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