Flower Garden

The short story Flower Garden by Shirley Jackson was a provocative tale of racism and the effects that it has on other people's friendships.

Year Published:
1949
Author:
Shirley Jackson

Mrs. Winning (senior) and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Winning (junior), live together in a prominent estate in Vermont along with their husbands and families. The Winnings are a highly respected and well-established family in the community. The younger Mrs. Winning chose to marry into this family instead of pursuing her childhood crush on the grocer’s son. She once envisioned fixing up and living in a quaint cottage in the neighborhood, but now she is resigned to living in her husband’s family house.

She and her mother-in-law gossip about new neighbors who will move into the cottage. The grocer confirms that a young widow and her son are moving into the cottage.

Hoping to befriend the new neighbors, Mrs. Winning stops by the cottage and meets Davey MacLane and his mother. Mrs. Winning and Mrs. MacLane become friends, and the former offers her son Howard as a playmate for Davey. As Mrs. Winning takes a tour of the house, she is envious of Mrs. MacLane’s work on the cottage, which is exactly as she had envisioned it for her own home. When the younger Mrs. Winning attempts to describe the magic of the cottage to her mother-in-law, the latter is rather unimpressed. Nonetheless, Mrs. Winning Jr. continues to spend time with Mrs. MacLane, growing more envious of Mrs. MacLane’s close relationship to Davey, while Howard does not display that much affection towards Mrs. Winning.

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