Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Writing as though recounting events in the lives of a rather average group of college students, Williams never intimates any underlying meanings. He simply describes occurrences in an orderly fashion, waxing only somewhat poetic in his description of the field of blue flowers itself. Here the wind rustling through the flowers sends up “a soft whispering sound like the infinitely diminished crying of small children at play.”

Through its characterizations, however, the story has psychological depths typical of all of this author’s work. Homer lives in a basement room and does menial work, but he is able to express great beauty through his poetry. He seems inarticulate, clumsy, and embarrassed much of the time, but when Myra gives him the opportunity, his underlying passion erupts with great force.

Kirk, on the other hand, is given short shrift as a character, perhaps put into the story merely to contrast with Homer. He meekly accepts what he sees of Myra’s behavior but fails to recognize what really motivates or troubles her.

Myra, like many of Williams’s female characters, is capable of deep emotion but is fearful of living outside what she perceives as the decrees of her society.

As a group, these characters subtly represent the author’s view of people. Most are fearful of taking up the really difficult challenges; most prefer to repress their deepest passions; and most settle for a calm, relatively uneventful life, bypassing, without regret, the fields of blue flowers.