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April Showers Bring May Allergies: An Argument Against Flowers - With A Free Essay Review
All that remains on the shelves of aisle four at the local Walgreens is a thin layer of collected dust and a weathered placard that reads “Tissues 2/$5.” High pollen counts have caused a run on tissues that has made packs of Kleenex the equivalent of gold. The line at the pharmacy wraps around the entire store, as itching, sneezing, wheezing customers demand eye drops and boxes of Claritin. When the last shipment for the day is brought into the store, single bachelors and elderly grandmothers alike fight like lions over a fresh carcass to determine who will get relief from their unbearable symptoms. This is allergy season.
Most people, however, can’t envision this almost post-apocalyptic scenario. Instead, they shut the curtain and all that remains are rolling green pastures with wild sunflowers and tulips. Bouquets that say “I love you” and fresh blooms that say it’s spring time. Carnations with their sweet smell and orchids that can paint a rainbow. Throughout the world, people giddily surround themselves with gardens full of tulips and daises and hydrangeas. Well, the time has come to put an end to this love affair with flowers. I am willing to be the one who finally opens the curtain and exposes their pernicious evils. Although many view the flower as an innocuous piece of nature that brings beauty to the planet and happiness to everyone, flowers actually harm the world on many levels. Therefore, I propose a complete eradication of all flowers. By removing your “rose colored goggles” you can see that flowers not only cause ominous scenes like that of the local Walgreens, but also bee stings, emotional distress, and even possible death.
Approximately one in every ten Americans suffers from pollen-induced allergies, a startling statistic that could be lessened by removing all flowers. Flowers, like other trees and plants, release pollens into the air every time the wind blows. Then, according to the Food and Drug Administration “on their way to fertilize plants and tree flowers, pollen particles often end up in our noses, eyes, ears and mouths. The result can be sneezing spells, watery eyes, congestion and an itchy throat” ("Itching for Allergy Relief? ") This means that flower pollen is constantly attacking us, causing allergy symptoms to ensue. Now, imagine a world without flowers. While this absence of flowers may not eliminate all pollen, it can seriously help to reduce the total quantity. In turn, less pollen would lower the amount of suffering seasonal allergy patients endure during the spring and autumn seasons. Some may ask, “why not take this one step further by eradicating grass and trees, thus eliminating pollen altogether?” To this question, I simply laugh. It is a ridiculous request to eliminate all sources of pollen; for example without trees we would suffer from oxygen depletion, a danger much more dire than allergies. Destroying all flowers however, is perfectly logical as it can diminish the pollen count with only minimal atmospheric side effects, and result in a universal sigh of relief from allergy sufferers.
In fact, removing flowers can also get to the root of another international problem: bees. The Encyclopedia Britanica states that, “Bees are entirely dependent on flowers for food, which consists of pollen and nectar, the latter sometimes modified and stored as honey.” (“Bees”) Therefore, without flowers, not only will people no longer have to worry about seasonal allergies, but also the excruciating pain that comes from bee stings will become a thing of the past. Furthermore, roughly three percent of Americans go into a deadly anaphylactic shock as a result of bee stings; without bees, nearly 9 million people will be released from the bondage of bubble suits and EpiPens, and will be able to freely experience nature for the first time in their lives (Stoppler). Now, I am certain that some of you are beginning to realize that without bees you would not be able to have honey, something that I know you absolutely can’t live without. I have devised a solution to this concern as well as to the problem that bees are necessary to pollinate over 15% of America’s food crops. I propose that we keep a population of bees in captivity after the wild bees die off from lack of pollen. We can then rent out this industrialized army of bees to farms in order to pollinate their crops. Finally, using beekeeping techniques, beekeepers can harness the honey that bees produce from the crops’ nectar. This process can then continue on an economically efficient cycle as the bees’ pollination of crops leads to the production of agricultural products and sustains the bee population. As long as we enslave a group of commercial worker bees, I foresee no negative results from the extinction of bees (Wilson).
So far, we have looked at the biological benefits of a flowerless world, but people will also bloom socially without flowers. Having to express love through flowers is a fear- inducing experience. Last Valentine’s Day, I stood in the florist filled with a combination of terror, panic, and everything in between. “Which flowers are right for our fist Valentine’s Day together?” I muttered to my self. “Perhaps the red roses (maybe too romantic) or the pink carnations (perhaps too tacky)?” I ended up fleeing the store and buying a teddy bear instead. The same problem occurred as I tried to purchase flowers to exactly match my senior prom date’s dress. How was I supposed to know that pink roses don’t go with a royal blue fabric? Let’s face it, I am not alone in this quest for buying the perfect flower; it is the bane of many people’s existence. Both understanding the hidden meaning of flowers as well as properly matching them to different fabrics are skills that takes a lot of practice to achieve. As a result, many become distraught and ultimately what is supposed to be a romantic memorable experience becomes a relatively stressful one. This anxiety can however be avoided if flowers did not exist. Instead, for these romantic gestures people could give simply neutral items like a box of chocolates that are not as complicated to pick out. These boxes are an assortment of flavors so there is something for everyone. Also, nobody expects you to match chocolates to clothing as they do with flowers. As a result, there would be less aggravation paired with all of the same satisfaction that comes with gift giving. Relationships could be so much stronger if it weren’t for those pesky flowers.
The end of flowers may not only affect people’s relationships, but also their physical well-being. Although the final product that reaches stores is pleasant and beautiful, the process by which the flowers are made is anything but. For years, you all have protested the Nike sweatshops in China and the blood diamonds of Africa while unfairly neglecting a crime just as grave if not worse. In Colombia, the worlds leading exporter of flowers, the floral industry is plagued with dictatorial management and dangerous working conditions. For most companies, it is illegal for workers to unionize, and those who try are immediately prosecuted and punished. In one incident, Hugo Moreno, a flower picker in the country’s capital of Bogota decided to take a courageous stand and lead a peaceful strike to demand the right to unionize. However, according to Moreno, “Within hours of the strike starting, over fifty heavily armed police stormed the compound, beating the protestors with truncheons and firing tear gas.” Scenes like this, which should send shivers down any caring person’s spine, demonstrate the oppressive nature of the Colombian flower trade. Moreover, the conditions that these workers face are often hazardous to their health. During peak seasons, workers are forced to labor outside in the blistering heat of the plantation for twelve-hour workdays that result in painful exhaustion and dehydration. Likewise, the precise handwork needed to de-stem flowers often results in severe arthritis in the fingers and wrists, and in some cases, total joint immobility. If there were no demand for flowers, these workers would no longer have to be “slaves” in this hazardous industry. Instead, they could move to the thriving coca bean industry, which at this point would be expanding to satisfy the high demand for boxes of chocolates. They would now be working under the shade of trees where they would be treated as well as the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka’s own chocolate factory. However, until this change is made, every time you are given a bouquet of flowers, know that it is dripping with the blood of thousands of innocent workers (George).
In the hit Broadway musical “The Little Shop of Horrors,” florist Seymour Krelborn unknowingly grows a flower named Audrey II that comes to life and destroys anything in its path. The evil, wicked nature of Audrey II is exactly how we should view all flowers if we ever hope to improve society. Although you may have originally been foolishly under the impression that flowers could do no harm, it is obviously clear now that flowers are dangerous; the faster we get rid of them, the faster the world can improve. Sure, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers collection may have to be simply called Vases and wedding processions would be lead by confetti girls as opposed to flower girls, but these are just minor sacrifices that we would have to make. They are inconsequential when compared to the great strides that society would make in allergy relief and relationship development. Therefore, the next time you see a wild rose or a blooming sunflower, simply uproot it and throw it away. Your actions will demonstrate to the rest of the misinformed world that flowers are terrible and their days are numbered.
On the one hand, I enjoyed this essay and agree with the proposal. The essay is funny, creative, and generally well-written, though I think you give the game away a little too early, with the hyperbolic description of Walmart riots (I understand such things happen, but only on Black Friday). Beyond that, I've nothing much to say about it, which is why we typically don't review this type of essay. If the essay had a serious argument to make, or a serious point to make under the guise of a humorous satire, then of course I might take a stab a critiquing it. But though the essay looks like a satire, it is not one.
On the other hand, then, I would be more impressed if you put your talent to work in the development of genuine satire. The classic touchstone for modern satire is Swift's “A Modest Proposal,” which I am sure you know of, but encourage you to read if you do not. Swift used satire to draw attention to the actual plight of impoverished people in Ireland. His proposal was intended to critique those with the means but not the interest to address the problem. It was intended to remind them of their barbaric indifference. Your essay lacks this critical edge. A satire needs an object to satirize, and yours doesn't really have one. I'm sure you are aware of this, and will feel I'm criticizing you for not doing what you had no intention of doing. You would be right to object to such criticism. But if it's not your purpose to write an essay with a purpose beyond that of humor, then you should at least acknowledge that eradicating flowers is only a partial solution. Should we not also eliminate cats?