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Short story review; and art

The Man Who Loved FlowersShort story review by Kate Plummer, 17, Gisborne Girls’ High SchoolTHE Man Who Loved Flowers is a short story written by Stephen King about a young man walking through a city to find his lover, who he surprises with flowers. The protagonist is shown as a young man in love. We never learn his name, he is only referred to as a young man or ‘young man in love’. He says he knows his name is love.

King shows the story in two parts — the first part being happy and bright and almost suddenly the aura around the second part of the story is dark, gloomy and negative, but not necessarily scary or frightening.

The young man sees who we presume is Norma and walks over to her. He hands her the flowers he bought in the first part of the story and the girl is confused.

She isn’t Norma and she doesn’t know who Norma is either. After the young man gives her the flowers, she hands them back to him and looks confused. The man reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a hammer, and with the hammer in his hand, he starts to swing at her, eventually killing her. He walks out, the blood on his suit jacket nearly invisible thanks to the dark night.

When I read this story I felt shocked as I did not believe that it was going to turn out the way it did. I expected a twist because it was written by King, but when it turned out that the protagonist was the hammer murderer that was mentioned on the radio broadcast early on in the story, I was very surprised.

“The radio poured out bad news that no one listened to: a hammer murderer was still on the loose . . . an unidentified woman had been pulled from the East River . . .”

The fact that this little part of dialogue ended up being completely overlooked by the reader — even though it ended up being important to the story — was a clever use of foreshadowing made by King. It doesn’t reveal too much too soon but once you find out the true identity of the young man, it makes you go back and reread that part and it just clicks in your head.

I believe this short story would be a good piece of writing for other students to read because it starts off as a typical love story, but it has dark undertones even at the start.

Along the way, we get subtle hints from King, so it is a good way to start reading between the lines in stories for students.

It is interesting and easy to read, unlike some stories provided by teachers for students.

This story could teach young people that everyone is not who they seem and that it is easy to hide your personality — or parts of your personality from people you don’t know — or even people you know.

Desmond — pre and post colour.Art by Elise Sadlier, 17, Gisborne Girls' High School
Desmond — pre and post colour.Art by Elise Sadlier, 17, Gisborne Girls' High School