"Flowers" by Robin Jenkins Essay

1024 Words5 Pages
In Robin Jenkin’s short story “Flowers” the author uses the character of Margaret, a child, to convey the themes of war and innocence or, more specifically, the destruction of innocence by war. The author achieves this through his use of imagery, symbolism and his choice of character. Jenkins’ choice of a child as the central character allows him to personify innocence. Throughout the story the reader witnesses the destruction of childhood innocence by the events Margaret encounters. Jenkins application of imagery to explore the theme is seen in how his particular use of religious imagery and allegory are prevalent in the text. For example the setting, World War Two in the Scottish Highlands, is representative of the Garden of Eden before the fall of man and the destruction of paradise as described in Genesis. Evidence of this can be found in “the bell heather streaming like fire along the top of the dyke” which, in crossing, Margaret breaks the “sacred promise” she made earlier to Miss Laing, her teacher. Just as Jenkins’ powerful imagery in these lines has strong connotations with the “flaming sword which turned in all directions” [Genesis 3:24] which God created to guard the tree of Knowledge from mortal temptation so too does Margaret’s disobedience demonstrate the loss of innocence which war brings. Another effective example of imagery depicted by the writer is his use of the snake in the description: “its most cunning animal that the Lord God had made” [Genesis 3:1]. Here he employs the personification of evil to illustrate clear religious links. It is therefore significant that Margaret fails to kill it, thus suggesting that evil is perpetual and inherent: it cannot be destroyed. Here, with the image of the snake, the writer is pointing out that, in agreement with Christian belief, God cannot exist without the Devil; and with the more general belief (like

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