At the end of "Marigolds," what are some things you can say about Lizabeth's character?

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At the end of "Marigolds," Lizabeth grows up. She had been a child earlier in the story, innocent, accepting the world of poverty in the Great Depression that was all she knew. But throughout the story, she is beginning to enter adolescence, occupying the strange place between participating in childhood activities, such as throwing stones at the elderly Miss Lottie and her marigolds, but at the same time finding these antics suddenly strange and silly.

Lizabeth hears her father cry at the end of the story in his bedroom with his wife, her mother, who supports the family. She realizes in a way she hasn't before that her family is poor and that her father is ashamed at not having been able to find work for a long time.

Lizabeth doesn't know what to do with this new knowledge and the feelings whirling inside her. Her anger breaks out recklessly. As she realizes how unfairly her father has been treated and feels rage that her mother, who works all the time, hasn't been there for her, she takes it out on the one piece of beauty she knows, destroying Miss Lottie's brilliant and lovingly tended marigolds. Afterwards, seeing how she has hurt Miss Lottie, she feels remorse.

At the point of remorse, as her older self understands looking back, Lizabeth emerges from her childhood innocence, the older self stating:

Innocence involves an unseeing acceptance of things at face value, an ignorance of the area below the surface. In that humiliating moment I looked beyond myself and into the depths of another person. This was the beginning of compassion, and one cannot have both compassion and innocence.

Lizabeth learns that you have to accept the fact that life is painful, which is a loss of innocence, to be able to understand another person's pain. That is the beginning of compassion, and compassion is the beginning of maturity. We see Lizabeth mature as she accepts the pain of her parents' lives and of what she has done to Miss Lottie.

We can say about Lizabeth that she learns to understand suffering, feels anger and pain, acts out, experiences remorse and compassion for another person, and through this process, begins to become an adult.

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