Themes and message

Love

The story “The Man Who Loved Flowers” by Stephen King explores love in a misleading and dark way. At first, the text seems like a romantic story, focusing on the feeling of being in love. All the secondary characters who cross paths with the main character assume he is in love: “She passed on her way, thinking: He's in love.” (p. 175, l. 10)

The thoughts of the old woman are the same as the thoughts of the old flower vendor or the middle-aged woman at the end. At the same time, the story mentions the policeman also being in love and seeing himself in the young man: “…the cop was engaged himself and recognized the dreamy expression on the young man's face from his own shaving mirror, where he had often seen it lately” (p. 179, ll. 15-16). Falling in love can make people feel ecstatic and kind, and give them a more positive view of the world. However, the story explores how love can sometimes bring people to act obsessively and violently.

In the story, the young man loves a woman called Norma and becomes so obsessed with her that he cannot let her go, not even beyond death. The young man cannot accept that Norma is gone and, even though ten years have passed, he still discovers traces of her in some women he meets. Ironically, he calls himself “Love” (p. 180, l. 23) but his actions are far from loving. The young man kills the women who turn out not to be Norma and he is so blinded by ‘love’ that he does not even realise Norma is no longer alive.

Although ...

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