Lizabeth and Joey annoy Ms. Lottie by throwing rocks at beautifully maintained marigolds. "For some perverse reason, we children hated those marigolds. They interfered with the perfect ugliness of the place..."
Lizabeth begins to feel out of tune and helpless as she hears her parents talking about their frustrating situation. She is especially bewildered when she hears her strong father crying.
Lizabeth, in her frustration, shuts off the outside world and runs to Ms. Lottie's house. She destroys the perfect blooms one by one. When Ms. Lottie comes outside, she suddenly feels ashamed, for the marigolds were the one thing of beauty she had midst all of the ugliness.