The African-American Experience as Seen in Coutnee Culler's "Incident" and Alice Walker's "The Flowers".

Essay by alphabets22High School, 11th grade December 2005

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Each generation has something to steal the innocence of the children. Some have war while others have economic ruin. The generations of African Americans following the end of slavery had hatred, ignorance, and racism. Racism rudely steals innocence before its time.

The poem "Incident" by Coutnee Culler and the short story "The Flowers" by Alice Walker, both take the reader to a time when all it takes is one word or moment to steal a child's innocence. Each child, no matter the race, is born with a sweet innocence and a thought that the world is a wonderful place filled with amazing possibilities, love, and fun. But once that innocence is lost, it is impossible to find again. The speaker of "Incident" and Myop of "The Flowers" both have a devastating moment during their childhood which causes them to forever lose their innocence in regards to the world.

In Cullen's "Incident", the speaker is only eight years old when he realizes the world and people in it are not like he once thought; one word changes him.

While riding his bike, a white boy no older than he, "poked out/ his tongue, and called [him] 'Nigger'" (Cullen 7 -8). It is at this moment, the speaker learns that there is no chance for African Americans in society if racism is passed from generation to generation. His loss of innocence is the only thing that sticks with him from his stay in Baltimore. " I [the speaker] saw the whole of Baltimore / from May until December; / Of all the things that happened there / That's all that I remember." (Cullen 9 - 12).

Myop's innocence is also stolen because of racism, albeit the racism is not directly aimed at her. "She was ten, and nothing existed for her...