English III CP
May 17, 2012
Paul Zindel’s Message Through Works of Literature
Paul Zindel’s The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds represents aspects of his life as he was growing up. If one simply read Marigolds…Revisited, they’d find a vast amount of information connecting his play to his past. Looking at the quote, “She forced us to live in secret poverty. Keep your feet down in public or people will see you have holes in your shoes. No, you can’t go to church because you have no decent clothes. People will talk about you,” shows a connection between Zindel’s mother and Beatrice, the mother in the play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Zindel ix).
In Marigolds…Revisited, Zindel says, “I used whole chunks of my mother to create the character Beatrice,” telling us what exactly they had in common (Zindel vi). Growing up, his mother had a few of the same issues as Beatrice. His mother was a single parent, left by her husband, who had kids to take care of in a society that looked down on families like theirs. She lashed out at those around her, attempting to hurt everyone else before they could hurt her.
Zindel also tells us in the introduction to his play that he used parts of his sister to create the epileptic character Ruth. Taking his situation growing up, Zindel made a statement about life through his play. In difficult environments, people react differently. Some turn out disastrous. Others, molded by their lifestyle, become strong and unique. Ruth, in the play, turns out to be the former. She seems to already be on a self-destructive path, even as a teenager. Tillie, on the other hand, represents the person that makes the best out of there situation and comes out of it with amazing results. In the book, Tillie’s home life is a wreck. Her mother is harsh, unsupportive, and uncaring, but Tillie works hard in school and wins the science fair. She dealt with her situation and came out on...