The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

by Paul Zindel

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What do you think Beatrice, Ruth, and Tillie will be doing ten years after the play ends? What societal influences might contribute to the characters' futures? Consider such elements as increased opportunities for women, advances in scientific research, changes in the American family, and so on.

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds has often been compared to Tennessee Williams's play The Glass Menagerie. Both have been described as memory plays. How do memories influence the action in each play? Do the characters always relate past memories truthfully? If not, what insight does this provide into their current situation?

Tillie and Ruth are made fun of because they are growing up without a father. Does society have the same view of single-parent households today that it had in 1964? What changes in society have influenced the current view of a "typical American family''?

Tillie sees atomic energy as a discovery that opens up vast wonderful possibilities for mankind. Do you agree with her? Support your answer with examples that cite good and/or bad uses of atomic energy. What has atomic energy allowed mankind to do that was previously impossible?

In what ways could the Hunsdorfers improve their current family situation? Consider such elements as communication and honesty.

Nanny's daughter has given up responsibility for her mother's care to focus on her own career. Was she right in doing this? Is society's view of aging different than it was in 1964? Why or why not? Have things gotten better or worse for people who need special care?

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