Empathy and Compassion in Marigolds by Eugenia Collier
“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” (Audrey Hepburn). Marigolds, a story by Eugenia Collier, expresses empathy with its journey of a young girl learning from her mistakes and learns from them which leads to her show of Empathy. Another author that captures the reason for empathy is John F Kennedy in his speech, Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Although both Marigolds and Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. evoke empathy in readers, Eugenia Collier’s way of using a sequential order method is more likely to get the reader to understand Lizbeth’s reasons for her actions.
Mistakes are made, and it takes time and knowledge to realize that this is the reason why Empathy is not brought out so quickly. An example would be from Marigolds, “Joy and rage and wild animal gladness and shame become tangled together in the multicolored skein of fourteen-going-on-fifteen as I recall that devastating moment when I was suddenly more woman than child, years ago in Miss Lottie’s yard.” This quote tells us that Lizabeth had finally realized how much damage she did because the hurting older lady. She mentions that now she is more woman than child which tells the readers that she is all grown up now and is feeling sorry for the way she has acted. This all represents the process of showing Empathy. Another good example from the same story would be, “The years have taken me worlds away from that time and that place, from the dust and squalor of our lives, and from the bright thing that I destroyed in a blind, childish striking out at God knows what.” This is yet another example of how Lizabeth has come to realize her wrongdoing. Her adult life is based on remembering what she had no empathy for which helps her show more compassion in the present time. Both these examples remind all readers that everyone makes mistakes, and anyone can learn from them.
Acknowledging the purpose for one’s actions can help someone show compassion, put yourself in the other person's shoes. An example would be, “In that humiliating moment I looked beyond myself and into the depth of another person.” By reading this quote from the story Marigolds a reader knows that Lizabeth has stopped thinking only about herself and now about the woman she hurt. She had now comprehended why the woman was so upset which leads to Lizabeth to show compassion knowing how the woman felt. Even according to the text, “Witch was no longer a witch but only a broken woman who had dared to create beauty in the midst of ugliness and sterility.” From this statement readers now know the woman’s purpose for planting these marigolds. We learn that they were planted to bring beauty in a place of ugliness. They were a way to get her happy because she knew, or she thought, she was doing something right. Lizabeth also grasps the concept of the purpose for these flowers. These sentences from the excerpt are both perfect examples of how compassion comes from acknowledging other people’s feelings and their purposes before judging them so quickly.
All things considered; empathy is something that can come over time. Everyone makes mistakes and learns from them. But only the most intelligent realize what they did wrong. The way marigolds is written makes it easier for everyone to follow Lizabeth on her journey to seek compassion and readers learn the reasoning behind her actions. Finally, we learn all little things having to do with empathy. It is not always so easy but once we what we are showing compassion for it comes naturally.