Marigolds” Guided Questions

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Marigolds” Guided Questions


  1. What device is the narrator using in the exposition’s first paragraphs? What basic information does she tell the reader?

  2. The narrator uses two metaphors in the sentences at the bottom of page 142.

To what does she compare poverty?

To what does she compare the hatred of poverty?



What do the two images have in common?

  1. Identify how the story changes. On page 143, 1st column, bottom paragraph), starting with “I was loafing…” to “…Y’all got ‘em all while they was still green.”

  2. Page 143: What external conflict does the narrator’s father face?

    1. How might this cause an internal conflict?

  3. What internal conflict is the narrator feeling?

  4. What do you think motivates the children to go to Miss Lottie’s house to annoy her?

  5. Setting: Think about how the description of Miss Lottie’s house is a reflection of her social standing. (Page 144) Is she better or worse off than Lizabeth and her brother?

  6. In your own words, describe John Burke.

  7. Choosing three descriptors, describe Miss Lottie.

  8. What does the narrator mean when she says “old fears have a way of clinging like cobwebs.”? What type of literary device is this? ( page 144 second column)

  9. Why do you think the children “pick on” Miss Lottie?

  10. What reasons can you give to explain why Miss Lottie works so hard in her garden?

  11. Why do you think Lizabeth is acting like she does? ( page 146)
  12. Conflict: Identify the conflict Lizabeth struggles with following the attack on Miss Lottie. What feelings are at the root of her conflict?


  13. Page 146, second column – identify the figurative language used for her mother’s voice.

  14. Summarize the conversation that Lizabeth overhears. ( page 146 – 147)

  15. What clues in the text indicate that Lizabeth’s father has been out of work for a very long time?

  16. Setting: Consider the significance of the hour (it’s just after 4 A.M.) What are some characteristics of time just before dawn?

  17. Climax: What is the climax or turning point of the story? Indicate page and coumn as well as summary of it.

  18. How does Lizabeth change in the moment she comes face to face with Miss Lottie? What does she recognize in Miss Lottie’s face?

  19. Why does Miss Lottie never plant marigolds again, despite Lizabeth’s “wild contrition” – her sincere remorse?

  20. Interpret what marigolds symbolized to Miss Lottie and what they symbolize to the grown-up Lizabeth?

  21. What do you think the narrator means at the end of the story when she says that she too has planted marigolds? Consider why she still thinks of Miss Lottie’s marigolds.




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