Beauty In The Short Story Marigolds By Eugenia Collier

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In the short story, “Marigolds,” the author, Eugenia Collier, acknowledges the universal theme that people can create beauty in even the most dreariest of places. The story takes place in Maryland during the Great Depression. Lizabeth, the main character, is an adult looking back to the time when she had transitioned from childhood to womanhood. Miss Lottie, an old woman who lived in a shabby, broken down house, planted marigolds. As a child, Lizabeth had thought Miss Lottie to be a witch and despised the marigolds because it did not match the poverty and sadness that surrounded her. After witnessing her father break down because of his inability to provide for his family, Lizabeth, in a mess of emotions, destroys the marigolds, marking the …show more content…

The marigolds symbolized her childhood and innocence, which were deeply treasured. Once Lizabeth destroyed the marigolds, she was no longer a child. In lines 134-137, she remarked, “For as I gazed at the immobile face with the sad, weary eyes, I gazed upon a kind of reality that is hidden to childhood. The witch was no longer a witch but only a broken old woman who had dared to create beauty in the midst of ugliness and sterility.” As a child, Lizabeth had childishly saw her as a witch who strangely wanted to grow beautiful marigolds during a terrible time, but she realized that Miss Lottie just wanted to create happiness for herself and anyone that happened to pass by and look at her marigolds. Near the end of the story, Lizabeth, as an adult, explains the effects the events had on her. Over time, Lizabeth discovers that one cannot have both compassion and innocence. She had truly felt compassion when she looked beyond herself and into the depths of Miss Lottie. Between lines 370-372, Lizabeth says, “Innocence involves an unseeing acceptance of things at face value, an ignorance of the area below the surface.” When Lizabeth started seeing Miss Lottie differently, she knew that she was no longer an innocent

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