Marigolds by Eugenia Collier Summary

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About this sample


Words: 737 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Words: 737|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Marigolds by Eugenia Collier is a poignant short story that explores themes of innocence, poverty, and the loss of childhood wonder. Through the eyes of the young protagonist, Lizabeth, the story delves into the harsh realities of growing up in a poor, rural community during the Great Depression. This essay will focus on the theme of loss of innocence in Marigolds, examining how the characters' experiences shape their understanding of the world around them.

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One of the central themes in Marigolds is the loss of innocence, as seen through Lizabeth's coming-of-age journey. At the beginning of the story, Lizabeth is a carefree, playful child who enjoys the simple pleasures of life, such as playing with her friends in the dusty streets of her impoverished neighborhood. However, as she witnesses her father's struggle to provide for the family and the despair of Mrs. Lottie, a destitute neighbor, Lizabeth's perception of the world begins to shift.

As Lizabeth grapples with the harsh realities of poverty and despair, she experiences a profound loss of innocence that marks her transition into adulthood. This loss is symbolized by her destructive act of tearing up Mrs. Lottie's beloved marigold flowers, which represent beauty and hope amidst the bleakness of their surroundings. In this pivotal moment, Lizabeth confronts the harshness of life and the fragility of innocence, realizing that the world is not always kind or fair.

To support this analysis, it is important to consider the broader implications of loss of innocence in literature and psychology. According to psychologist James Garbarino, the loss of innocence is a common theme in coming-of-age stories, reflecting the universal experience of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. In his book "Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them," Garbarino explores how exposure to violence, poverty, and trauma can shatter a child's innocence and lead to negative outcomes in adulthood.

Furthermore, literary scholar J.D. Salinger's novel "The Catcher in the Rye" also explores the theme of loss of innocence through the character of Holden Caulfield, a disillusioned teenager who struggles to navigate the complexities of adulthood. Like Lizabeth in Marigolds, Holden grapples with the harsh realities of life and the loss of childhood wonder, ultimately seeking refuge in a world of fantasy and nostalgia.

One of the key moments in Marigolds that highlights Lizabeth's loss of innocence is when she witnesses her father's emotional breakdown after losing his job. This event serves as a stark reminder of the harsh economic realities that plague their community during the Great Depression. Collier writes, "I watched my father's shoulders slump as though they were too heavy for him, and then he put his head down on his arms and began to cry" (Collier). This powerful imagery captures Lizabeth's realization that her father, whom she has always seen as strong and resilient, is vulnerable in the face of poverty and despair. This moment marks a turning point in Lizabeth's understanding of the world, as she grapples with the harshness of life and the loss of her childhood innocence.

Furthermore, the character of Mrs. Lottie serves as a poignant example of the impact of loss of innocence on individuals in poverty. Mrs. Lottie's once vibrant and colorful marigold garden, which symbolizes hope and beauty in the midst of hardship, is destroyed by Lizabeth in a moment of anger and frustration. Collier writes, "The marigolds did not outlast the freeze. They outlasted the Marigolds. They outlasted the summer. They outlasted the world" (Collier). This act of destruction symbolizes the loss of innocence not only for Lizabeth but also for Mrs. Lottie, whose last source of joy and beauty is taken away from her. The destruction of the marigolds serves as a powerful metaphor for the fragility of innocence in the face of poverty and despair.

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In conclusion, Marigolds by Eugenia Collier offers a poignant exploration of the theme of loss of innocence, as seen through the eyes of the young protagonist, Lizabeth. Through her experiences in a poverty-stricken community during the Great Depression, Lizabeth confronts the harsh realities of life and grapples with the fragility of innocence. The destruction of Mrs. Lottie's marigolds symbolizes the loss of beauty and hope in the face of poverty and despair, highlighting the profound impact of loss of innocence on individuals in marginalized communities. As we reflect on the themes of Marigolds, we are reminded of the importance of preserving our sense of wonder and resilience in the face of adversity.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Marigolds By Eugenia Collier Summary. (2024, March 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
“Marigolds By Eugenia Collier Summary.” GradesFixer, 05 Mar. 2024,
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