Hope is Never Lost
During the Great Depression, many struggled. This lead to hope for good fortune and the opportunity to live through these terrible times. The main character, Lizabeth, lives with her parents in rural Maryland in what’s left of anything they can find… there houses are made of scraps and any material they can find to be useful; this is known as a shanty town. Her father is out of work and a job; her mother is a housekeeper for an “inferior” family, although the pay is very little… the family is able to survive and live off of this little income; she also has a little brother that lives with them. Their hopes are high and her father still goes out every day hoping for work, his search always seems to come out negative but he still believes there’s a chance. The Great Depression left many families devastated in debt and “left their hope in the dumpster”. In the story Marigolds, by Eugenia Collier, everyone faces struggles, yet hope pulls through into the light. This is shown through Lizabeth’s mother, Miss Lottie, and the marigolds.
lizabeth’s mother faces struggles yet her hope shines through. Her mother has a job as a housekeeper. Their family lives up this little income she receives in return. With her dad unemployed, she “brings home the bacon” leaving him feeling useless. Lizabeth has never heard her parents fight before, one night while she was lying in bed she heard them arguing thru the thin walls of what is called their home: “It ain’t right. Ain’t no man ought to eat a women’s food year in and year out,...ain’t nothin right about that”(114). Lizabeth’s father is saying that he should be the provider for the family. He hasn’t had a job since the fall and the start of The Great Depression. African Americans are always the last to be hired and the first to be hired. This is true for all residents of the shanty town in rural Maryland.
Miss Lottie uses her beloved marigolds as a symbol for her hope. She cares for them everday and is working on them non stop every summer. The neighborhood kids say they don’t see how she lives life… they never see her eat, or go to the restroom, or anything besides care for her marigolds in the summer heat: “The old black witch-woman worked on them all summer, every summer, down on her creaky knees, weeding and cultivating and arranging, while the house crumbled and John Buke rocked”(111). Miss Lottie’s marigolds gave herself hope, they kept her life moving forward. Her struggle with John Burke was not clear to most if not all people of this time, especially not the kids. They see this as an opportunity: “John Burke was totally unaware of everything outside of his quiet dream world. But if you disturbed him, if you intruded upon his fantasies, he would become enraged, strike out on you, and curse out on you in some strange enchanted language which only he could understand. we children made a game of thinking of ways to disturb John Burke and then to elude his violent retribution”(110). These kids are immature and have nothing better to do. This creates a bigger problem for Miss Lottie and more of a struggle. Mrs. Lottie is constantly being “shut down” and her hope gets gets stronger. The kids ruin the only hope Miss Lottie has…
Marigolds. The only hope Miss Lottie has. They give a certain reward for her; not physically, just emotionally. The is not true for John Burke, her house, or the beheading of her last hope..the marigolds. These are just some of many that Miss Lottie struggles with. Her marigolds grow and flourish in the summer time: “The old black witch-woman...”(110). As the kids describe as mysterious also. They never see her doing anything in life which is necessary to live, in the summertime she is only caught tending to her marigolds. The kids don’t like them because they don’t fit in, they “mess with the perfect ugliness of the place” as Lizabeth says in her flashback. Through the toughest of tougher times Miss Lottie’s marigolds were always there. Until one day when Lizabeth lost all innocence.
In the story Marigolds by Eugenia Collier, many people struggle for hope. This is simportant because The Great Depression is a time of many struggles. Lizabeth’s mother, Miss Lottie and the marigolds themselves are an example of the struggle of the times they lived. Marigolds is a lesson to never give up on hope. The goal is to make it through the light end of the dark tunnel. These people and thing are stuck in the middle finding their way out.