Flowers in the Attic Critical Essays

V. C. Andrews


(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Flowers in the Attic, its three sequels—Petals on the Wind (1980), If There Be Thorns (1981), and Seeds of Yesterday (1983)—and its “prequel,” Garden of Shadows (1987), are a series of books that present how evil is born out of a desire for money and power. Malcolm Neal Foxworth, jealous of his father, makes wealth the primary focus of his life, suppressing all the good that is within him. He marries a woman whom he does not love because she is a good secretary, alienates his children when he finds that he cannot force them to become what he wants, isolates his daughter from friends and neighbors so that she will be completely dependant on him for affection and support, and forces his grandchildren to live a suffocating existence in his attic in order to punish Corrine.

Because Malcolm is a Foxworth, the patriarch of the wealthiest and most powerful family in his town, he feels superior to other people and thinks that he can do whatever he wants to whomever he wants. He encourages dependency within his family that inevitably leads to incestuous relationships; his lonely fourteen-year-old daughter falls in love with her half uncle because the elder Christopher Dollanganger is the one man whom she is allowed to see. Because Corrine’s children, Cathy and Chris, are confined to live together without any semblance of privacy as they become adults, they form an inappropriate attachment and, unavoidably,...

(The entire section is 453 words.)