What’s the allusion in “Marigolds”?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In the short story "Marigolds," the author, Eugenia Collier, makes an allusion to the Great Depression. This allusion is a reference to the period of economic struggle that occurred in the 1930s. The characters in the story are living in a time of poverty, and the author uses the allusion to highlight the difficulties faced by many during this time.
Detailed answer:

In "Marigolds," the allusion is a reference to the Great Depression, a time when the United States experienced widespread poverty and economic turmoil. The story takes place in the fictional town of "Lorain," which is likely a reference to the real-life town of Lorain, Ohio, which was hit particularly hard by the Depression. The author also describes the setting as "an edge of the town where the dirt roads end and the neatly paved streets of the white folks begin," which suggests racial and economic segregation. The main character Lizabeth and her family are among the poorest in the town, and they struggle to make ends meet.

One of the most significant allusions in the story is the reference to the marigolds. Lizabeth's father had told her that during the Depression, when he was unable to provide for his family, he would plant marigolds to brighten their spirits. This allusion serves as a symbol of hope and perseverance during difficult times. Furthermore, the marigold is traditionally associated with the sun, and in the story, it is used to describe the warmth and light that Lizabeth's father brings to their family despite their struggles.

In conclusion, the allusion in "Marigolds" serves to provide historical context and emphasize the theme of perseverance through difficult times. The author uses the allusion to the Great Depression and the marigolds to illustrate how even in times of great hardship, people can find solace in small acts of kindness and beauty.

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