“Flower Garden” is a story about a housewife living with her wealthy in-laws. When a new neighbor moves into a house she’s always admired, she befriends the single mom initially to take a look around at all the new upgrades she’s made to the home. The new resident eventually begins to work on creating a beautiful garden in her yard. She soon hires on an African American man to tend to it. This is when her banishment from the community begins.
The story is written through the eyes of the housewife, with the wealthy in-laws. It shows how those who view themselves as “good people” are imperfect and susceptible to folding when faced with the possibility of being shunned.
This short synopsis doesn’t do justice to the story. The actual story is much more complex. I encourage you to read for yourself.
Written by horror writer, Shirley Jackson, “Flower Garden”, is a story about being ostracized through association.
The main character in this story lives at a time in America when women were easily stigmatized. The horror part of the story for me is how easy it was to wreck your reputation back then.
I wouldn’t say the story was eye-opening to me since we’ve all probably felt pressure to follow the crowd vs the lone man with little standing. But, it was disturbing to imagine people being shunned for their skin color alone and to shun those who associate with them.
In the end, I felt sorry for the main character more so, than the enlightened woman that was shunned. The main character was trapped in her life by the environment around her; being unable to develop her own opinions or true friendships. The enlightened woman could at least leave and live a good and full life.Embed from Getty Images
“Flower Garden” can be found as part of a collection of short stories published by Shirley Jackson. With her realistic writing style and way of creating suspense with every sentence; it was hard to put this book down.