Eugenia Collier
 Maryland
– in an impoverished area
during the Depression
 Lizabeth
(1st person narrator – “I”)
 She’s not a child anymore, but she isn’t
exactly an adult, either
 She antagonizes Miss Lottie and the
 Her father is unemployed (her mother
 She has a little brother (Joey)
 She’s a good person, but she is frustrated
 Joey
• He’s loud, energetic and immature
• He’s a minor character – we do not see
things through his point of view
• He is scared of Miss Lottie – he thinks
she is a witch
 Miss
• She’s old, and lives in a run-down shack
• She lives with her son John Burke Lazy /
Sits in a
• Raises her marigolds
• She does not antagonize the children
• By the end, she is a ‘broken’ woman –
she is not even angry (“there was
nothing left to protect”)
 What
is a bildungsroman?
Coming of
age story
“Making of a
Man” story
bildungsroman is a type of story
dealing with a character who ‘comes of
age’ . . .
 The
protagonist of a bildungsroman must
A character who
experiences a
 The
reader is usually aware of the very
moment when the transformation from
childhood to adulthood occurs
 That
moment is usually presented as an
EPIPHANY for the character
 An
Epiphany is a moment of selfawareness or meta-cognition (thinking
about thinking)
The event or person that causes the epiphany is the
Catalyst is originally a scientific word meaning “A
substance that accelerates the rate of a chemical
reaction but is not itself permanently changed by the
This scientific definition is relatively unchanged in the
literary sense, except instead of a chemical reaction
being altered, a character in a story is altered
Miss Lottie acts as a catalyst when she reacts to the
destruction of the marigolds . . .
 What
is the definition of a symbol?
 There
are two types of symbols:
 Contextual:
 Universal:
 Is
there any object that becomes
symbolic throughout Collier’s short
 Absolutely!
The marigolds become
symbolic because they:
 1. maintain
their literal meaning
 2. they take on a larger, symbolic
 What
intangible ideas do the marigolds
begin to symbolize?
 Actions
and events in a story can also
become symbolic
 Can
you think of any action or event that
becomes symbolic in this story?
 Yes
– The trampling of the flowers
becomes a symbolic act of losing one’s
innocence and seeing the world through
the eyes of an adult
 In
Collier’s “Marigolds” Lizabeth has a
life changing experience that forces her
to grow up.
 For homework, write a two paragraph
reflection about yourself or someone you
know that has changed because of a
significant event. Make sure to utilize the
terminology of bildungsroman (epiphany,
catalyst, etc . . . )
first paragraph should describe the
experience. Be specific, using concrete
details and proper names.
 The
second paragraph should reflect on
the experience and touch on the
following questions: What was learned
from this experience? Did you know at
the time that it would effect your life?
What or who was the catalyst?
 The
 This
is a reflective, creative assignment
 You
can use “I” and you can use the past
 However, you
still need to adhere to the
standard rules of writing (avoid
contractions, pronouns, etc . . . )

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