Analysis

The short story “The Man Who Loved Flowers” written by Stephen King has a classic plot structure for a work of thriller fiction, including key foreshadowing elements as well as a plot twist which reveals the protagonist is actually a killer.

The story features the main character (the young man), and several secondary characters (the flower vendor, an old lady, a middle-aged couple, a young woman, etc). The main character’s traits are initially shown through others’ points of view, while his true personality is revealed at the end through his actions and attitude.

The setting of the story is 1960s New York during a spring evening. The social setting of the story includes numerous real details about life and politics in the US during that time.

The story is told by a third-person narrator who is outside the plot but who has extensive knowledge of most of the characters’ points of view. The narrator adopts a limited knowledge position, intentionally hiding details about the main character to build up the plot twist.

The language used in the story is descriptive, including adjectives and adverbs that help create suspense or offer hints to readers. Repetition has a key function in enhancing the climax of the story, while symbols become foreshadowing elements.

Further help

Short story analysis

For more advice about analysing short stories, you can read our general guide to short story analysis.