One of the many fascinating aspects of short stories is that they allow readers to enter new
worlds, connect with interesting characters, and understand unique topics in a matter of pages.
“Araby” by James Joyce and “The Flowers” by Alice Walker are two such short stories that
describe in beautiful detail events occurring in the lives of two children on the verge of
adulthood. Although the stories themselves are quite unique, Myop from “The Flowers” and the
young narrator from “Araby” have striking similarities. Both characters are isolated and alone
express a sense of childhood innocence and have a sudden moment of insight marking the end of
A common theme that drives the story in both Joyce’s “Araby” and Walker’s “The
Flowers” is that of childhood innocence. Both Myop and the young boy express qualities that
show they have not yet had to face the cruelties of the real world. In “The Flowers”, the first
apparent representation of this innocence is the main character’s name, Myop. The name Myop
is derived from the term ‘Myopia’ literally meaning ‘trying to see like a mole.’ This very
accurately shows how Myop sees the world: like that of a child. Walker writes, “She was ten and
nothing existed to her but a song.” (20)
Similar to Myop, the young boy from “Araby” also shows childhood innocence that drives
the story. At the beginning of the story, the narrator describes himself playing with his
schoolmates in the center of North Richmond Street, evidence of an energetic young boy. This
changes when his focus is shifted to his friend’s sister, whom with which he becomes infatuated.
Joyce shows readers that the young boy’s world is small and that he is sensitive. He also has a
wild imagination and very high expectations. It is evident that both Myop and the young boy
possess childhood innocence.
Another similarity between Myop and the young narrator is that both characters experience
an epiphany, or a sudden moment of insight, at the end of the story. Although the triggers for
these sudden moments of insight were very different in each story, both had the same effect on
the characters. They marked the departure of innocence and the entrance into the real, and
oftentimes very cruel, world. In “The Flowers”, Myop’s epiphany was triggered by her discovery
of a dead body while she was exploring the area around her home. Initially, Myop was curious
about the man she had stumbled upon. She then showed her remorse by laying down the flowers
she had picked. The last line in “The Flowers” is also a very important to the story and describes
the end of Myop’s innocence. “And the summer was over.” is a strong...