“Y’all git! Go on home!” “Git ’long! John Burke! John Burke, come help!”
At the beginning of the story, the narrator, whose name is Lizabeth and a group of kids throw rocks and pebbles at the marigolds. Miss Lottie plants the marigolds in her garden. The children feel that the marigolds ruin the ugliness of their hometown. As Miss Lottie yells at the youngsters, Lizabeth completely loses her mind and sings an insulting song about Miss Lottie. After committing the act, the child inside her thinks that she had fun, but the woman inside flinches at her actions.
In the middle of the story, Lizabeth ate dinner with her brother and her depressed father. Her mother worked well into the evening every day. After supper and an argument with her brother, she fell asleep. Suddenly she was awakened in the middle of the night. Her father was despondent because he had not found a job yet and he thought his family was suffering from an insufficient life. Her mother tried to ease her father of his stress, but her father started to cry painfully and desperately.
As the story reaches an end, the absence of her mother, the depression of their impoverished lifestyle, the transition from child to adult, and her father's tears cause her to lose control over her emotions. Due to this, she destroys Miss Lottie's marigolds during the night. Miss Lottie comes into the yard realizing that the marigolds cannot be saved. In the end, Lizabeth becomes fully aware that she is an adult as she completes her last act of her childhood.