Loss Of Innocence In Lizabeth's Marigolds

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Have you ever done something that you regretted later? Something that changed your life forever? That is what happened to Lizabeth, the protagonist of Marigolds, a short story that explores the theme of innocence and its loss through the eyes of a young African American girl growing up during the Great Depression. The story revolves around Lizabeth's encounter with Miss Lottie's marigolds, the only bright spot in their otherwise bland neighborhood. In this essay, I will argue that Lizabeth's destruction of the marigolds symbolizes her loss of innocence and her transition to maturity. This is shown by how Lizabeth's attitude towards the marigolds changes from hatred to guilt to remorse, how her act of vandalism affects her relationship with Miss Lottie and her father, and how her memory of the marigolds shapes her understanding of life and beauty.

In the beginning of the story, Lizabeth is presented as a bored and restless child who hates the marigolds for their beauty and contrast with her surroundings. She says, "For some perverse reason, we children hated those marigolds" (Collier 2). She also admits that she feels guilty for tormenting Miss Lottie and her son John Burke, who are both outcasts in the community. She …show more content…

She is awakened by her father's cry of despair, which shatters her image of him as a strong and protective figure. She says, "I had never heard a grown person cry before" (Collier 4). She runs out of the house in a frenzy, feeling "a violent emotion trying to express itself in action" (Collier 4). She ends up in Miss Lottie's yard, where she vents her anger on the marigolds. She says, "I leaped furiously into the mounds of marigolds and pulled madly, trampling and pulling and destroying the perfect yellow blooms" (Collier 5). This shows that Lizabeth's act of vandalism is a result of her inner conflict and her inability to cope with her

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