2 Lessons From Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers Poems

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Sun and Her Flowers" by Rupi Kaur. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are Rupi Kaur’s poems in The Sun and Her Flowers about? What are the key lessons and takeaways from the poems?

Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers is a book of poems describing her life experiences and what she learned from making it through tough times. Some of the most important lessons Kaur learned were how to appreciate the positives and criticize the negatives in her life.

Keep reading for an overview of the life lessons from Rupi Kaur’s poems in The Sun and Her Flowers.

What Can We Learn From Rupi Kaur’s Poems?

Rupi Kaur’s poems in The Sun and Her Flowers explore Kaur’s inner emotional self, her relationships, her experiences with trauma and insecurity, and its effect on her relationships. Through her style of minimalist drawings and poems, she connects things in her personal life to larger social issues: Kaur’s relationship with her mother connects to the struggles of immigrants, refugees, and women of color living in misogynistic societies. A new healthy romantic partnership connects to the joy and difficulty of healing and learning self-love.

Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers poems use a minimalist style of verse and drawings, connecting Kaur’s own deep emotional experiences to larger social issues around her—misogyny, rape, female infanticide, and negative body image. The main themes of Kaur’s poems can be understood in three parts:

  1. Feeling Pain covers the “Wilting” section of The Sun and Her Flowers and Kaur’s description of ending an abusive relationship.
  2. Feeling Empty covers the “Falling” section of The Sun and Her Flowers and Kaur’s exploration of her deep-seated depression, insecurities, and trauma from childhood sexual abuse. 
  3. Feeling Hope covers the “Rooting,” “Rising,” and “Blooming” sections of The Sun and Her Flowers and Kaur’s newfound appreciation for her family, her cultural background, and her loving partner.

Lesson #1: Appreciating the Positive

In The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi Kaur’s poems express newfound gratitude and appreciation towards her family and culture. She’s come to recognize all of the remarkable challenges her parents faced. Arriving as poor immigrants, Kaur’s parents were able to successfully provide for their family and adapt to their new country and lives. Kaur is grateful to her mother in particular, who gave up pursuing her own goals and dreams so she could raise her family—going through constant work and stress all the while. 

(Shortform note: Reflecting on their own experiences, some first-generation immigrants suggest that gratitude and family bonds can overcome some of the significant differences in values that might exist between immigrant parents and their children born in a new country. From this perspective, families can develop appreciation by acknowledging each other’s past hardships and recognizing where they share common ground—despite clashes that might appear between the cultural values of their current and former homes.) 

Lesson #2: Criticizing the Negative

While Kaur finds a new appreciation for her background, she also recognizes some negative aspects of her heritage and culture. Through the poems in The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi Kaur explains how some elements of South Asian culture are misogynistic and how this misogyny informs the lives of South Asian girls and women. She often connects this back to the experiences of her mother—Kaur describes how her mother was taught to be submissive and obedient to the men in her life, and how she, in turn, helped teach Kaur those same lessons herself. 

(Shortform note: Rosjke Hasseldine (The Mother-Daughter Puzzle) further discusses the complicated relationship between misogyny and mother-daughter relationships. She warns that women shouldn’t place too much blame on their mothers for teaching or enforcing misogynistic views—while they aren’t entirely innocent, they are themselves victims of the same beliefs. Instead, Hasseldine suggests that mothers and daughters approach their relationship as equals in similar circumstances. This dynamic allows them to empathize with each other and challenge misogynistic beliefs together instead of resenting each other or getting defensive.)

2 Lessons From Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers Poems

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Sun and Her Flowers summary:

  • Explanations and context to better understand Rupi Kaur's poems
  • A look into the recurring themes of Kaur's poetry
  • What Kaur's poetry can teach us about society and ourselves

Emily Kitazawa

Emily found her love of reading and writing at a young age, learning to enjoy these activities thanks to being taught them by her mom—Goodnight Moon will forever be a favorite. As a young adult, Emily graduated with her English degree, specializing in Creative Writing and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), from the University of Central Florida. She later earned her master’s degree in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University. Emily loves reading fiction, especially modern Japanese, historical, crime, and philosophical fiction. Her personal writing is inspired by observations of people and nature.

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