What is the syntax in the short story “Marigolds”?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In the short story "Marigolds," syntax refers to the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences. The author's use of syntax can affect the tone, mood, and overall meaning of the story. For instance, when the protagonist Lizabeth says, "We hated those marigolds," the use of "we" signals a collective action and a shared emotion. Similarly, the syntax in the closing lines of the story, "I too have planted marigolds," creates a sense of resolution and closure. The author's effective use of syntax helps to convey the emotions and thoughts of the characters and heighten the impact of the story.
Detailed answer:

Syntax refers to the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language. In "Marigolds," the author, Eugenia Collier, uses syntax to enhance the reader's experience and to communicate the story's themes.

One example of this is the use of sentence fragments to create a sense of urgency and to emphasize certain ideas. For example, in the opening paragraph, the narrator says, "We reached the marigold patch," a sentence fragment that suggests a sudden stop or pause in the action, and that something important is about to happen.

Collier also uses longer, more complex sentences to convey more nuanced ideas and emotions. For instance, the narrator describes the moment when she sees her father crying after losing his job. The long sentence creates a sense of the narrator's confusion and fear, as she tries to make sense of what she is seeing: "The sight of my father standing there with his shoulders drooped and his eyes, those strange, unworldly eyes that looked on into worlds I could not begin to fathom, glistening with tears, and his thin body, almost too frail to support itself, silhouetted against the orange-and-lemon sky evoked emotions in me that I could not begin to understand."

Overall, the author's use of syntax in "Marigolds" enhances the reader's understanding of the story's themes of growth, empathy, and the loss of innocence. The use of sentence fragments and longer, more complex sentences creates a sense of urgency, confusion, and emotional depth, drawing the reader deeper into the story.

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