The Man Who Loved Flowers

Thomas Mahoney 2-15-13 ENG 112 The Man Who Loved Flowers This story starts out in a very peaceful innocent setting, in New York City. There is a sense of love in the air, and the smell of spring. There is a man walking along the streets in a gray streets turning everyones attention because then can tell he is happy and in love. This story takes place in May of 1963 right before the summer starts. Stephen King is extremely descriptive in the story with the man’s appearance; “He had that look about him.
He was dressed in a light grey suit, the narrow tie pulled down a little, his top collar button undone. His hair was dark and cut short. His complexion was fair, his eyes a light blue. Not an extraordinary face, but on this soft spring evening, on this avenue, in May of 1963, he was beautiful”(King) The interesting thing about this story is how it seems so beautiful and peaceful, but draws a thin line with insanity.
The first sense of something being wrong in the story is when the man goes to buy flowers, and there is a radio playing a news program talking about a hammer murder that was on the loose, but this is immediately dismissed because everything seems so perfect in the moment. As the man walks away he hesitates and touches something in his pocket, which foreshadows what could happen later in the story. “The young man passed the flower-stand and the sound of the bad news faded. He hesitated, looked over his shoulder, and thought it over.

He reached into his coat pocket and touched the something in there again. For a moment his face seemed puzzled, lonely, almost haunted, and then, as his hand left the pocket, it regained its former expression of eager expectation. “(King) The imagery in this story is so beautiful and down to earth for almost the whole story, until it becomes dark and depressing at the end. King goes from writing about flowers, the beautiful spring weather, love being in the air, kids loving life and playing, to a hammer, blood everywhere, dark alleys, creepy vibes, and a presence of death.
When the story turns from afternoon to night is when the man goes to visit Norma, the love of his life. This is when the story turns dark. They grow close together, and the closer they get, he realizes that the woman is not Norma, in fact, Norma had been dead for Ten years. He handed her the flowers though and she denied him and gave them back. She thanks him and begins to explains that she is not Norma, but he cuts her off mid sentence and whispers “Norma”(King)as he pulls the hammer out of his pocket. This gives an extremely creepy mood to the story abruptly. She backed away, her face a round white blur, her mouth an opening black 0 of terror, and she wasn’t Norma, Norma was dead, she had been dead for ten years, and it didn’t matter because she was going to scream and he swung the hammer to stop the scream, to kill the scream, and he swung the hammer the spill of flowers fell out of his hand, the spill spilled and broke open, spilling red, white, and yellow tea roses beside the dented trash cans where the cats made alien love in the dark, screaming in love, screaming, screaming. (King) King brings up how hard it is to love to the reader during this part of the story by being extremely descriptive and frightening. He shows how hard life is to move on once you’re in love and then you lose the one love. This is one of the hardest things for people to deal with in life. The name of the character is revealed at the end of the story, King calls him “Love”. He presents the idea that love makes you do insane things that you would never do if you weren’t in love, and it can take over you’re personality and change your life.
At this point in the story, King confuses the reader by making them realize how misleading the story was from the beginning. It gives a sense of the unknown to the reader and leaves them questioning how it went from being so positive to negative in a matter of seconds. There are some small hints that he foreshadows in the beginning of the story but nothing too evident. “His own smile trembled a little, and he felt a moment’s disquiet. Her face over the sailor blouse suddenly seemed blurred. It was getting darker now. . . could he have been mistaken?
Surely not. It was Norma. “(King) It is a crazy and unexpected change of events when it goes from having the reader believe that it is a typical friendly man that is in love, and all the sudden the reader discovers he was the hammer murderer. That’s what makes this a great story because it is so misleading at first. King is so creative in the way he makes you think when you are reading the story, he knows how to get inside the readers head and really make them think about the thin line between fear and love, and how easily that line is broken. None of it seemed real, none of it seemed to matter. The air was soft and sweet. Two men with beer bellies stood outside a bakery, pitching nickels and ribbing each other. Spring trembled on the edge of summer, and in the city, summer is the season of dreams. “(King) It would take a genius to predict that the man in the beginning of the story ended up being a killer at the end, it is hard to even believe. it makes you think that anyone you see walking on the street could be a killer like that, and you would never know.
The fact that King doesn’t provide the main character with a name further proves the point that and unsuspecting person could be a cold hearted killer. This is another reason King is such a great writer, he is so clever with the way he tells his stories and all of the minor details he provides. He creates a character that seems to be a typical everyday male that is in love with a girl, but underneath that he is a murderer. This brings me back the my thesis of how thin the line between love and insanity is.
I love the way the mood suddenly switches and smoothly King makes the transition into a dark frightening story. “His name was love, and he walked these dark streets because Norma was waiting for him. And he would find her. Some day soon. He began to smile. A bounce came into his step as he walked on down Seventy-third Street. A middle-aged married couple sitting on the steps of their building watched him go by, head cocked, eyes afar away, a half-smile on his lips. when he had passed by the woman said, ‘How come you never look that way any more?
Huh? , ‘Nothing,’ she said, but she watched the young man in the grey suit disappear into the gloom of the encroaching night and thought that if there was anything more beautiful than springtime, it was young love. “(King) This is a great way to end the story because it presents the reader with a sense of hope, and brings back the sense of beauty that started the story. King is a writer unlike any other, he makes the reader think in ways that make them question there own life.

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