Flowers Commentary Essay

826 WordsNov 9, 20144 Pages
The short story “Flowers” by Robin Jenkins clearly portrays the evil present in everyman. “Flowers”, a symbolic story about the loss of innocence, explores the more universal implications of this theme. Childhood can be seen to be one of the most innocent states of life and yet Margaret clearly manifests a propensity for destruction and viciousness. Margaret is portrayed as sullen and disobedient from the outset - “The red-eyed dissenter” who sneers at the others in her class for their enthusiasm and breaks a “sacred promise” by jumping over the dyke and heading to the forbidden beach. Margaret strikes out viciously at a snake in an unprovoked attack and comes very close to crushing a beautiful flower to destroy it. However Jenkins makes it clear that the children are also victims themselves. Margaret is isolated and lonely. She has been evacuated to the Highlands because of the war and misses her familiar life back in Glasgow. “She wished to see the shops, houses, tramcars of home.” Jenkins emphasises her alienation by describing how the Gaelic spoken by the others is “mysterious and hateful”. When she hits out at the snake it is because it seemed to represent “that detestable alien country”. Margaret sees the snake as a dangerous threat just like the [pic] Highlands to which she has been evacuated. This is reinforced later when the author describes the jellyfish as “stinging” and the crabs as “ferocious” emphasising Margaret’s fear of the unknown landscape she now finds herself in as a result of the war. The author is suggesting that Margaret is reacting to the difficult situation she has been put in by the adults in her life. Margaret rebels against her new schoolteacher and her new environment. Another point is the significance of the setting in the authors’ portrayal of the theme. The natural world in “Flowers” is described in detail

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