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Review of Marigolds by Eugenia Collier

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Words: 942 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: May 14, 2021

Words: 942|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: May 14, 2021

Table of contents

  1. The Symbolism of Marigolds
  2. The Development of Lizabeth's Character
  3. The Impact of Poverty and Racism
  4. The Ambiguity of Hope
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

Eugenia Collier's captivating short story, "Marigolds," serves as a profound exploration of the intricate emotions and profound human experiences that accompany the transition from childhood to adulthood. At its heart, the story grapples with a central theme: the loss of innocence and the inevitable disillusionment that often emerges as one matures. In this essay we will analyze the theme of hope and loos of innocence in "Marigolds". We will explore how Collier deftly employs a tapestry of literary elements, including vivid imagery, character development, and symbolism, to convey this theme, painting a rich and resonant portrait of a young girl's journey into the complexities of the adult world.

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The Symbolism of Marigolds

One of the central symbols in the story is, as the title suggests, the marigold flowers. These bright, vibrant flowers serve as a powerful metaphor for the fragile beauty and transience of innocence. At the beginning of the story, the marigolds represent Lizabeth's innocence and the beauty she sees in the world around her. They are a source of joy and fascination for her, symbolizing the simplicity and purity of childhood.

However, as the story progresses, the marigolds undergo a transformation. Lizabeth, in a fit of frustration and anger over her family's impoverished circumstances, destroys Miss Lottie's cherished marigold garden. This act of vandalism marks a pivotal moment in the story and serves as a stark symbol of the loss of innocence. The once-beautiful marigolds are now trampled and destroyed, mirroring Lizabeth's own loss of innocence and the shattering of her idealized view of the world.

The Development of Lizabeth's Character

Lizabeth, the young protagonist, undergoes significant character development throughout the story. At the beginning, she is portrayed as an innocent and curious child, fascinated by the marigolds and full of youthful wonder. However, as the story unfolds, she grapples with the harsh realities of poverty and racism that surround her.

Lizabeth's internal struggle is a reflection of the broader theme of loss of innocence. Her act of destroying the marigolds is an expression of her frustration and disillusionment with the world. She recognizes that the world is not the idyllic place she once believed it to be, and this realization marks her transition into adulthood. Her journey from innocence to experience is a central aspect of the story's theme, illustrating how the loss of innocence is an inevitable part of growing up.

The Impact of Poverty and Racism

Collier's story also addresses the impact of poverty and racism on the loss of innocence. Lizabeth's family, living in abject poverty in a segregated community, is a reflection of the broader social and economic disparities of the time. The harsh realities of their circumstances shape Lizabeth's worldview and contribute to her loss of innocence.

The story highlights the crushing weight of poverty and racism on young minds. Lizabeth's act of destroying the marigolds is, in part, a response to the hopelessness she feels in the face of these systemic injustices. Her loss of innocence is not only a personal journey but also a reflection of the larger societal issues that affect marginalized communities.

The Ambiguity of Hope

Amidst the backdrop of loss of innocence, "Marigolds" also explores the theme of hope. Miss Lottie's marigold garden represents hope and beauty in a desolate environment. It serves as a beacon of optimism for Lizabeth, a symbol of what is possible even in the face of adversity.

However, Lizabeth's act of destroying the marigolds raises questions about the nature of hope. Is hope merely an illusion, a fleeting glimpse of beauty that can be easily crushed by the harsh realities of life? Or is hope resilient, capable of enduring even in the most challenging circumstances?

The story leaves these questions unanswered, allowing readers to grapple with the ambiguity of hope themselves. It suggests that while the loss of innocence may be inevitable, the capacity for hope remains a vital part of the human spirit.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Eugenia Collier's "Marigolds" is a powerful exploration of the main theme: the loss of innocence and the disillusionment that accompanies the transition from childhood to adulthood. Through vivid symbolism, character development, and a backdrop of poverty and racism, the story masterfully conveys the fragility of innocence and the harsh realities that can shatter it.

The marigolds, once symbols of beauty and innocence, are ultimately destroyed, mirroring Lizabeth's own loss of innocence. Her journey from a curious child to a disillusioned young adult is a central aspect of the story's theme, highlighting the inevitability of this transition.

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"Marigolds" also raises questions about the nature of hope in the face of adversity, leaving readers to grapple with the complexities of this theme. It serves as a poignant reminder that while the loss of innocence may be a universal part of growing up, the capacity for hope remains a vital force in the human experience. In this exploration of hope and loss, Collier's story resonates with readers, inviting them to reflect on their own journeys from innocence to experience.

References

  1. Collier, E. (1969). Marigolds. In The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 1551-1556). W. W. Norton & Company.
  2. Wood, K. A. (1991). Triumph over despair: The quest for meaning in Eugenia Collier's "Marigolds." African American Review, 25(2), 197-202.
  3. Johnson, B. (2008). Symbolism in Eugenia W. Collier's "Marigolds." In Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 (Vol. 126, pp. 224-232). Gale.
  4. Terzian, S. (1997). Eugenia W. Collier's "Marigolds": A study in adolescent rebellion. In Short Story Criticism (Vol. 25, pp. 94-98). Gale.
  5. Piazza, M. (2000). The other "fall": Eugenia Collier's "Marigolds" and Alice Walker's "The Flowers." Studies in Short Fiction, 37(3), 357-363.
  6. Bates, G. C. (2011). Disillusionment, a loss of innocence. In A History of American Literary Journalism: The Emergence of a Modern Narrative Form (pp. 109-116). University of Massachusetts Press.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Review Of Marigolds By Eugenia Collier. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 12, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/review-of-marigolds-by-eugenia-collier/
“Review Of Marigolds By Eugenia Collier.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/review-of-marigolds-by-eugenia-collier/
Review Of Marigolds By Eugenia Collier. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/review-of-marigolds-by-eugenia-collier/> [Accessed 12 Apr. 2024].
Review Of Marigolds By Eugenia Collier [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 May 14 [cited 2024 Apr 12]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/review-of-marigolds-by-eugenia-collier/
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