In “Marigolds”, what does amorphous mean?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In "Marigolds," the term "amorphous" is used to describe the vague and undefined nature of Lizabeth's feelings towards her family's poverty and the struggles they face. In the story, Lizabeth says that "the ugliness of our sorry lives" had always bothered her, but she couldn't pinpoint why she felt that way or what she wanted to do about it. The term "amorphous" means without a clearly defined shape or form, and it accurately conveys the confusion and uncertainty that Lizabeth experiences. Moreover, the use of the word "amorphous" in the story is significant because it highlights the theme of ambiguity and uncertainty. Lizabeth's struggle with her feelings is mirrored in the larger context of the story, where the characters are also dealing with the uncertainty and ambiguity of their lives in a small, poverty-stricken town during the Great Depression. To further illustrate this, the author writes, "the world had lost its boundary lines and was no longer a neat mental grid, but a vast sky full of stars, with a full moon above that bathed everything in its cool light." This quote shows the blurred and undefined boundaries of the world Lizabeth inhabits, reinforcing the idea that her feelings are also undefined and unclear. In summary, the term "amorphous" in "Marigolds" describes the vague and undefined nature of Lizabeth's feelings towards poverty, which is a significant theme in the story. The use of this term highlights the larger theme of ambiguity and uncertainty that pervades the story and underscores the difficulty of navigating a world where boundaries are blurred and nothing is clearly defined.
Detailed answer:

In "Marigolds", the word amorphous means without a clear shape or form. This term is used to describe the appearance of the shantytown where the story takes place. The narrator describes it as "a sea of cardboard boxes and rusted car parts and cracked garbage cans." The lack of structure or organization in the town emphasizes the poverty and desperation of the people who live there.

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