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Marigolds by Eugenia Collier

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A Literary Analysis: Marigolds by Eugenia Collier

In Marigolds, Eugenia W. Collier uses figurative language to portray the intense state of poverty existing in the community. Lizabeth recalls her childhood memories, and remembers the impoverished state of the community that she grew up in. “I suppose that futile waiting was the sorrowful background music of our impoverished little community when I was young.” This quote supports the thesis because “the sorrowful background music of our impoverished little community,” is a metaphor comparing the town to sorrowful background music, or a miserable waste of space. Again, Lizabeth has flashbacks, and specifically feels nostalgia of the golden marigolds. “I feel again the chaotic emotions of adolescence, illusive as smoke, yet as real as the potted geranium before me now.” Lizabeth is using a simile to compare the marigolds to smoke and potted geraniums. Next, Collier is painting a picture of the community that the children live in, as Lizabeth explains the state of her childhood. “Poverty was the cage in which we all were trapped, and our hatred of it was still the vague, undirected restlessness of the zoo-bred flamingo who knows that nature created him to fly free.” Collier uses a metaphor to show that the rural Maryland community was similar to being bred into a zoo and permanently caged.

In “The Scarlet Ibis,” James Hurst uses a flower motif to highlight the theme of a life cycle. Brother becomes embarrassed to have a little brother that cannot walk like the other children, therefore he perseveres through many failed attempts of his lessons. He realizes, “I did not know that pride was a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bares two vines: life and death” (Hurst 558). Hurst uses the word “seed”, which initiates the beginning of the life cycle symbolizing Doodle’s life. Brother’s pride is the reason that Doodle is able to walk, and Doodle’s life essentially begins when he is able to do normal things with his brother. With Doodle’s new ability to walk, the brothers would travel to Old Woman Swamp and fantasize about their future and make up mindless lies. Brother recalls one of Doodle’s lies, “When he walked through the sunflowers, they turned away from the sun to face him” (Hurst 559). Hurst uses the word “sunflowers” to illustrate a lively, healthy, and bright picture of a living flower, or the living part of the life cycle. This phase of content liveliness represents Doodle’s adventures with his older brother during the climax of his life. After an exotic scarlet ibis arrives to the farm, the family realizes its beauty even as it breathes its last breaths. “Even death did not mar its grace, for it lay on the Earth like a broken vase of red flowers, and we stood around, awed by its exotic beauty” (Hurst 562). “A broken vase of red flowers,” represents the end of the life cycle



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