In "Marigolds," the word "futile" is used to describe the actions of Lizabeth and her friends as they destroy Miss Lottie's marigolds. The word "futile" means pointless or useless, indicating that Lizabeth's actions were ultimately meaningless and did not accomplish anything.
In the story, the narrator Lizabeth describes the scene where she and her friends destroy Miss Lottie's marigolds. She says, "We ran around in the dust throwing stones and pulling up the limp plants, tearing the leaves off the stems, and then throwing the plants back on the broken earth." Lizabeth then reflects on the senselessness of their actions, saying, "We had destroyed something beautiful. This thought, sobering us, brought us to a halt at last, and then we turned and ran back to town, our laughter ringing out across the dusty road, but our joy a little subdued."
So what is "futile" mean in the context of the story? The use of the word "futile" emphasizes the pointlessness of their actions and the realization that their actions were wrong. It highlights the sense of guilt and regrets that Lizabeth feels afterward, as she realizes that the marigolds were the only beautiful thing in Miss Lottie's life. The word also underscores the broader theme of the story, which is the loss of innocence and the harsh realities of growing up. Lizabeth's realization that their actions were futile symbolizes the loss of her childhood innocence and her coming of age.
Overall, the use of the word "futile" in "Marigolds" serves to emphasize the senselessness of the destruction of Miss Lottie's marigolds, the guilt and regret that Lizabeth feels afterward, and the broader theme of the story, which is the loss of innocence and the harsh realities of growing up.
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