Marigolds: Short Story and Main Point Essay

Have you ever considered the fact that people have reasons to live? In this essay the questions, “What does Lizabeth mean at the end of the story when she says that she too has planted marigolds? What do you think the marigolds have come to mean in the story?”(Question 9, 129) will be answered with excerpts from the text. First of all, the short story, “Marigolds” is all about how a young girl (Lizabeth) growing up during the Great Depression, is left home alone and makes some unwise decisions, that at the time, allowed her fit in with her peers. Lizabeth’s family aren’t the only ones struggling through this time, a neighbor, Miss Lottie, is also struggling but it is sometimes hard to see that through her positive attitude and her passion to care for her garden, that ends up destroyed.

Throughout “Marigolds” you can see that Lizabeth is hurt by how her family is living and you can tell that she really wishes that she could change the way they live, making their life more pleasurable. The three main points that will show you how Lizabeth has planted marigolds will be mentioned throughout the next three paragraphs, they are, how the marigolds in this story have been used to symbolize happiness, how the marigold have been used to symbolize hope, and last but not least, how everyone some how has planted marigolds, just as Miss Lottie and Lizabeth have.

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The first main point that will be mentioned is how the marigolds in this short story have been used to symbolize happiness. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear, marigolds? Bright, attractive, bold? Well it should be safe to say that bright attractive and bold things usually make us happy. Here is one excerpt from the text, it reads,”She shook her stick at us and started shakily toward the road crying,’Git ‘long! John Burke! John Burke come help!’”.(Collier 124) During this scene Miss Lottie was working very happily on her marigolds until the neighborhood children began messing with her and

harming her marigolds. Once the children began disrupting her from her gardening, she became unhappy. One more excerpt from the text reads,”Miss Lottie’s marigolds were perhaps the strangest part of the picture.”They interfered with the perfect ugliness of the place; they were too beautiful; they said too much that we could not understand; they did not make sense.”.(Collier 122) This text says that Miss Lottie’s marigolds were outstanding from the rest of her property, seeming to be the only thing that didn’t fit the picture. The fact that the marigolds were beautiful, compared to the rest of her property, brought Miss Lottie happiness, seeing something that is actually lively and bright instead of dead, dull, and boring.

The second main point is, how the marigolds in the short story have been used to symbolize hope. Hope means to believe, desire, or trust. Miss Lottie believed in her marigolds, being the once plant that actually lived in her garden (not including weeds). The first excerpt from the text is,”Certainly they did not fit with the crumbling decay of the rest of her yard.”.(Collier 122) This tells me that if others could see that the marigolds were the only real living plant that Miss Lottie had on her property, then Miss Lottie was aware too. And knowing this Miss Lottie most likely just gave up on everything except for the marigolds, which she put most of her time, sweat ,and tears into.

Another excerpt from the text that shows you how marigolds symbolize hope is,”For as I gazed at the immobile face with the sad, weary eyes, I gazed upon a kind of reality which is hidden to childhood. The witch was no longer a witch but only a broken old woman who had dared to create beauty in the midst of ugliness and sterility.”.(Collier 126) This excerpt shows you that when Lizabeth looked at Miss Lottie’s face she saw new emotion, emotion that she was not entirely familiar with. Lizabeth noticed that the entire time, she had given Miss Lottie the wrong judgment. When Miss Lottie witnesses her garden now destroyed, she looses all of the hope that she had had for the marigolds and eventually for life.

The final main point is, how the marigolds in the short story have been use to as a reason to live. If someone were to ask you, ‘What is your reason to live?’ what would you say? Miss Lottie had one thing that was keeping her on edge, wanting to live another day. The one thing that she actually looked forward to doing everyday was, caring for her marigolds. Sure she might have had other things that motivated her but this is the one that stands out in the short story,’Marigolds’. The first excerpt to support my statement is,” Whatever verve there was left in her, whatever was of love and beauty and joy that had not been squeezed out by life, had been there in the marigolds she had so tenderly cared for.”.(Collier 126)

This excerpt basically says that all of the enthusiasm and effort that she had had was put into the marigolds that she took care of. The last excerpt from the text is,”for despite my wild contrition she never planted marigolds again.”.(Collier 126) This excerpt tells you that sure Miss Lottie could have took time out to plant another garden of marigolds, but marigolds don’t grow once you plant them, they take time and patience. Miss Lottie clearly completely gave up everything once her marigolds were destroyed.

In this essay, there were three main points stated and supported by multiple excerpts from the text. The first main point was how the marigolds were used to symbolize happiness. The second main point was how the marigolds in the story were used to symbolize hope. The final main point was how the marigolds were used as a reason to live. Reading this short story allows you to realize that there are many things in life that keep you motivated. Life is all about making a difference, taking a chance, and being unique.

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