Marigolds Questions and Answers
by Eugenia Collier

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In the story "Marigolds" by Eugenia Collier, how does Lizabeth change, why does she change, how aware is she of her own surroundings and the wider world, and what does Lizabeth's reflection at the end of the story suggest about her feelings toward the move into adulthood?

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Lizabeth’s change begins to occur after the children behead the marigolds. She charges at Miss Lottie, chanting a song, but later regrets her actions. She feels the duality of the situation: the child enjoyed mocking, but the woman was ashamed of herself. Lizabeth later hears her father crying because he cannot provide for his family. She covers her ears because she does not want to face her father’s humanity. She has always seen him as strong and fun, and his vulnerability prompts her to take out her anger on Miss Lottie’s flowers.

After destroying the garden and seeing Miss Lottie’s broken spirit, Lizabeth realizes that she has done much more damage than to the marigolds. She understands why the flowers were so important to Miss Lottie, who had nothing else in her life except heartache and poverty. Although Lizabeth feels great remorse, she can never express it enough to undo what she has done. “I stood there awkward and ashamed,” she says. No longer a child, Lizabeth...

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