Marigolds by Eugenia Collier Book Review

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 843
  • Published: 17 March 2021
  • Copied: 125


In the short story “Marigolds'' the theme is that when there is despair there is always beauty and hope. It is by Eugenia Collier and is a short story from the viewpoint of the narrator Lizabeth. The three examples are when the narrator writes “And one other thing I remember, another incongruence of memory-a brilliant splash of sunny yellow against dust-Miss Lottie’s marigolds.,” “Miss Lottie’s house was the most ramshackle of all our ramshackle homes. The sun and rain had long since faded its rickety frame.”, and the third example is when the narrator discovers her father lamenting the economic situation of the family and she goes on a escapade out of the house with her brother (Joey) and they destroy Miss Lottie’s marigolds entirely.   

The first example is when the narrator writes/says “And one other thing I remember, another incongruence of memory-a brilliant splash of sunny yellow against dust-Miss Lottie’s marigolds.” The first piece of evidence that shows the example is true is when the narrator wrote/said “I suppose that futile waiting was the sorrowful background music of our impoverished little community when I was young. The depression that gripped the nation was no new thing for us, for the black rural workers of Maryland had always been depressed.”. The narrator could be using the term depressed in a mental health term, but the narrator is using the term in an economic and social term for the status of poor people and minorities during the time period. The narrator uses the word brilliant while referring to Miss Lottie’s marigolds and in this use of the word the author means that the marigolds are radiant, exceptionally colorful. In the dusty area the narrator lived which she said in the example “a brilliant splash of sunny yellow against dust”. The example supports the theme by showing a contrast between the dusty environment of the narrator’s town and the beautiful marigolds which shined radiantly/brilliantly in Miss Lottie’s yard.  

The second example is when the narrator says/writes “Miss Lottie’s house was the most ramshackle of all our ramshackle homes. The sun and rain had long since faded its rickety frame.”. This supports the example because in the rural towns of Maryland during the great depression children could recognize that adjoined to this “ramshackle” house was a patch of radiant flowers. “Miss Lottie’s marigolds were perhaps the strangest part of the picture. Certainly, they did not fit in with the crumbling decay of the rest of her yard. Beyond the dusty brown yard, in front of the sorry gray house, rose suddenly and shockingly a dazzling strip of bright blossoms, clumped together in enormous mounds, warm and passionate and sun-golden.”. The narrator says that the marigolds were the strangest part of the picture of Miss Lottie’s home as they were “dazzling” and “warm and passionate and sun-golden". The narrator knew that when the rest of the children and her threw rocks at the marigolds which caused the top of the flower to fall off, which the narrator knew was wrong, because she said/wrote “I did not join the merriment when the kids gathered again under the oak in our bare. Suddenly I was ashamed, and I did not like being ashamed.”.  The narrator was not pleased with her actions which involved destroying one of the few colorful and radiant elements of her town.  

The third example is when the narrator overhears her father lamenting about their economic situation and the narrator cannot fully digest the things she heard from her father, because he was stoic and though and aloof, and now he was nearly crying about the fact that he still had no work and his wife had work. So, the narrator returns to the room she shared with her brother (Joey) and she leaves with her brother, and walks down the road. The narrator wrote “I was lost for a reasonable reply. I could not say ‘I am sacred, and I don’t want to be alone.’”. The narrator wrote/said “The half-dawn light was more eerie than complete darkness, and in it the old house was the ruin that my world had become-foul and crumbling, a grotesque caricature.”. The narrator means the quote in reference to Miss Lottie’s home, and later after the narrator destroys the marigolds and garden, the narrator writes/says “I gazed upon a kind of reality which is hidden to childhood. The witch was no longer a witch but only a broken woman who had dared to create beauty in the midst of ugliness and sterility.”.  This shows that the narrator is aware of the fact that not everything that is beautiful is physical and that the marigolds had more importance than just being flowers.  

In the short story “Marigolds” by Eugenia Collier the theme is that when there is despair there is always beauty and hope. This is seen in all three examples when the narrator recognizes beauty slowly and recognizes the theme throughout the story as it progresses. The narrator acknowledges that one of the few things in the rural town in Maryland during the Great depression/1930s that were beautiful were the marigolds, the narrator also points out that the most dilapidated house had the most beautiful amenity, and the narrator realizes that Miss Lottie is more than some evil “witch” at the end of the story. The narrator finally realizes the theme and the thesis by the end of the story.