Growing up Amongst ‘Marigolds’: Eugenia Collier’s Short Story of Innocence and Insight

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Updated: Dec 28, 2023
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Growing up Amongst ‘Marigolds’: Eugenia Collier’s Short Story of Innocence and Insight

This essay delves into the heart and soul of Eugenia Collier’s poignant short story, “Marigolds,” a coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of the Great Depression. It explores the journey of Lizabeth, a young African American girl transitioning from the innocence of childhood to the complex realities of adulthood. The essay highlights how Collier weaves themes of innocence, poverty, and resilience into a narrative that is both deeply personal and universally relatable. The marigolds, central to the story, symbolize beauty and hope amidst bleak surroundings, and Lizabeth’s act of destroying them marks a pivotal moment in her maturation. The essay further discusses the broader implications of the story, reflecting on the socioeconomic challenges of the era and the resilience of the African American community. Collier’s evocative language and vivid storytelling are also examined, emphasizing how they create a powerful emotional connection with the reader. Ultimately, the essay presents “Marigolds” as a timeless piece that resonates with anyone who has experienced the bittersweet journey of growing up and discovering deeper truths about life. On PapersOwl, there’s also a selection of free essay templates associated with Short Story.

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Eugenia Collier’s “Marigolds” isn’t just a story you read; it’s one you feel. Set in the dust and despair of the Great Depression, this short story takes us on a young girl’s poignant journey from innocence to a bittersweet understanding of life. Let’s unpack this beautifully crafted tale and see why it’s stuck with us long after the last page.

“Marigolds” is, at its heart, a coming-of-age story. It tells the tale of Lizabeth, a young African American girl in rural Maryland, and her raw, turbulent transition into adulthood.

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Lizabeth’s world is one where laughter comes easy, but so does pain, where childhood innocence meets the harsh truths of a world struggling under the weight of poverty. Collier’s storytelling is a dance of contrasts – innocence and experience, beauty and desolation, hope and despair.

Then there are the marigolds, vibrant and defiant in their bloom. To Lizabeth, they’re more than flowers; they’re symbols of beauty in a world that’s often ugly and unfair. But in a moment of rage and confusion, Lizabeth destroys them. It’s a gut-wrenching scene, marking the end of her innocence and the beginning of a deeper, more complex understanding of life.

Collier doesn’t just tell a story; she paints a picture of the times. Through Lizabeth’s eyes, we see the struggles of an African American family in the Depression era, their joys, their pains, and their unyielding spirit. It’s a snapshot of history, personal and yet universal in its themes.

What really makes “Marigolds” sing is Collier’s language. It’s like she’s right there, telling you the story in a voice that’s rich and warm, yet piercingly honest. The world she creates is so vivid, so real, that you can almost feel the sun on your face and the dust on your skin.

In the end, “Marigolds” is a timeless story about growing up, about the moments that change us, and about finding beauty, even in the toughest times. It’s a story that doesn’t just belong to Lizabeth or to the era she lived in; it belongs to anyone who’s ever lost their innocence and found something profound in its place.

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Growing Up Amongst 'Marigolds': Eugenia Collier's Short Story of Innocence and Insight. (2023, Dec 28). Retrieved from