Comparing "The Killer" by Judith Wright and "The flowers" by Alice Walker

Essay by jasonwHigh School, 10th gradeB+, February 2009

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Bibliography:Mainly took notes from teacher, used wikipedia to look at the writer "Judith Wright's" background: the poem "The Killer" by Judith Wright and "The flowers" by Alice Walker deals with death, but in different ways. "The Killer" outline an incident of a girl killing a snake, suggesting that us human beings kill things that we fear, that we believe is harmful. While Alice Walker's "The Flower" is an account of one child's loss of innocence, as she steps on a dead body, and discover facts that kills her innocents.

The use of symbolism helps emphasizes the story's meaning, and its message. The story begins with young Myop skipping around her family's farm. This scene is stetted in the summer, which represents life. There are vivid descriptions of colorful nature, and summer, the time of harvesting, such as; how "she felt light and good in the warm sun" and how "she watched the tiny white bubbles disrupt the tiny black scale of soil and the water that silently rose and slid away down the stream."

Her own movements are described as jovial; little Myop skipping around, "bouncing this way and that." Myop picks flowers.

The "stepping incident" occurs when Myop decides to turn back to the house, to the "peacefulness of the morning." There is a clear separation between jovial nature and monstrous horror, with the onomatopoeic word "smack", as it appears in the sentence "it was then she stepped smack into his eyes."The rotted clothes on the man's body gives us the impression that the body has been there for a while, and maybe suggest that no one cared even if he has been there for a while. Previously, there is no indication given of man being dead from before; as Myop steps incidentally, described as "stepped into his eyes," creates an added sense of shock and vulgarity.

The end of summer represents death, which is a great contract to the start of the story. The tone changes to focus on the rotted clothes of the tall man, and the rotted noose. There are uses of negative descriptive words, such as "frayed, rotted, bleached, and frazzled." The word "rotted" has been used repeatedly, properly to emphasize its meanings. As the story closes, "Myop laid sown her flowers"; the innocence is lost.

The presence of noose implies lynching, it creates images of dead body being left out to rot after a hanging in reader's mind, despite it's lack of direct description of any of this in text.

There has not been much description about the dead men, and the only description: "He had been a tall man" is in past tense. I believe this had been done deliberately to show that the dead men is not cared.

Also notice, the way Myop reacts very unaffectedly, as she goes to pick a wild pink rose immediately after seeing the body, and adds it to her bundle, and perhaps, her confusion.

The story ends powerfully; "And the summer was over", which implies that life is over for Myop. As she losses her innocents, and realizes the darkness of humanity.

Instead of symbolism, Judith Wright chooses to use metaphor and similes instead, but there was a lack of it used. I admire the fact that instead of spelling out its text, Alice Walker chooses to make us read it through symbolic meanings, which is great as it shows and not tell.

Characterization is a key to a good story, as a good use of it can not only help the reader understand the meanings of the story, but also to be more engaged and into the story. In "The flowers" Alice Walker chooses Myop, a young girl. Myop is carefree and has no responsibilities in the world of hers that is ever so happy. The reason the writer choose a young girl in specific, is because they are the most innocent and fragile, and they do not tend to know much about the real world, therefore, they are the most suitable to help the writer explain the meanings of the story, in this case, the lost of innocence, as the girl is naïve, and therefore can go through a maturity period. By using young Myop, it may also show a greater contrast of it. Judith Wright's piece uses characterization too, but in a very vague way, which is, when comparing to "The Flowers", not as effective.

In conclusion, I think Alice Walker's "The Flowers" is more effective then Judith Wright's "The Killer", as it has a stronger meaning, and is delivered in a stronger way. After reading and interpreting it, I was touched and alerted both mentally and emotionally by the piece.

Throughout an account of one child's loss of innocence, the writer Alice Walker manages to call to mind the history of racism in America, an issue that has been an issue for our society from Alice Walker's years, to our times. Just as how Myop must uncover the man's body and learn the secrets of his murder, discovering the unspeakable horrors of the human nature, the absolute contrast to the 'beauty' of nature. Not only is Alice Walker trying to underline the unfairness of life, and the circumstances of the black people during that period of time, but more importantly, trying alert us that we live in a violent world, and one in need of forgiveness.