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Marigolds, Lizabeth

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  • Category: Knowledge

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The character Lizabeth in “Marigolds” by Eugenia W. Collier is a growing child. Like any other child, Lizabeth does her chores when she is supposed to and runs wild when it is time to run wild. Lizabeth explains, “After a few chores around the tumbledown shanty, Joey and I were free to run wild in the sun with other children similarly situated,” (50). When she hears her dad cry, she feels lost and expresses her feelings on Miss Lottie’s marigolds. In the beginning, Lizabeth shows that she is childish; in the middle of the story, troublesome events happen which makes Lizabeth lost and in the end, she loses her mind and realizes her mistake, which makes her a wiser person.

At first, Lizabeth reveals her immaturity when she is disturbing Miss Lottie. Lizabeth and her friends display their immaturity by chanting madly about Miss Lottie. Lizabeth tells us she “ran out of the bushes . . . straight toward Miss Lottie chanting madly, ‘old witch, fell in a ditch, picked up a penny and thought she was rich!'”(55). This chant was really uncalled for and unnecessary, but they chanted away for the thrill. Lizabeth’s immaturity causes her to annoy Miss Lottie as if she had to. Lizabeth explains, “we had to annoy her . . . revealing in our youth and mocking her age,”(53). Lizabeth knows she is annoying Miss Lottie, but she still continues to bother her. Therefore, by annoying and mocking Miss Lottie, they not only reveal their age, but also their immaturity.

In the middle of the story, Lizabeth becomes confused when she hears her dad crying. Lizabeth explains, “My mother, who was small and soft, was now the strength of the family; my father, who was the rock on which the family had been built on, was sobbing like the tiniest child,”(56). She finds it very confusing to hear the “rock” of the family cry. Lizabeth is shocked to hear her dad cry and her mom comfort him. Wither her out of it, she asks herself, “where did I fit in this crazy picture?”(56). With her confusion, Lizabeth becomes angry. With this anger she, “leaped furiously into the mounds of marigolds and pulled madly, trampling and pulling and destroying the perfect yellow blossoms,”(58). Lizabeth let out all her frustration and anger on Miss Lottie’s marigolds. In other words, Lizabeth loses her mind causing her to rampage with no control.

At the end of the story, Lizabeth turns into a knowledgeable person after she realizes that she had destroyed everything Miss Lottie cared for, the marigolds. Lizabeth now knows, “whatever verve there was left in her, whatever was of love and beauty and joy that had not been squeezed out by life, had been there in the marigolds she had so tenderly cared for,”(58). All the compassion, beauty and happiness that was taken from Miss Lottie was in the marigolds. The marigolds were Miss Lottie’s hope and it is now destroyed. Lizabeth realizes that, “I looked beyond myself and into the depths of another person. This was the beginning of compassion, and one cannot have both compassion and innocence,”(59). Lizabeth, after she was caught, loses her innocence and gains compassion. In other words, Lizabeth grows to be more knowledgeable of what is right and wrong.

To conclude, Lizabeth grows up from being childish to lost and to a wiser person. After destroying the marigolds, Lizabeth explains, “now at the end of that life she had nothing except a falling down hut, a wrecked body, and John Burke, the mindless son of her passion,”(58). Lizabeth now realizes that Miss Lottie only had the marigolds and after they were gone she had nothing. After all these events, Lizabeth grew up to be more compassionate.

Work Cited

Collier, Eugenia. The Inter Active Reader Plus. McDougal Littel. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littel Inc., 2003. Print. (Collier 48-59)

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