The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds Questions and Answers
by Paul Zindel

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In The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, what would be Tillie's past, present, or future?

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Matilda "Tillie" Hunsdorfer is the main character of Paul Zindel's play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon MarigoldsEverything that is known about Tillie throughout the play comes from three sources: from Tillie's monologues, from her mother Beatrice's words, and from the words of Tillie's sister, Ruth. 

From the information that is given, Tillie's past can be easily described, in not so many words, as chaotic. The youngest in the family, Tillie was born to a dysfunctional marriage made up of her mother, an unstable, and narcissistic alcoholic, and her father who presumably "deserved" the stroke that killed him, according to Beatrice. From a very young age, Tillie has been somewhat warding off the toxic "radiation" which has become the constant exposure to her mother's bipolar fits. As a result, Tillie has developed into a very shy, but still extremely inquisitive and bright student.

Tillie's present is just as chaotic as her...

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