Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-Moon Marigolds

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-Moon Marigolds

An actual picture from the show. Beatrice is most likely
about to take her stress and pitiful life out on her daughters
Tillie and Ruth.

The Effect of Gamma Rays On Man-In-Moon Marigolds was a very sad play, and I could relate to it from my own experiences. I will be analyzing the play for my assignment.


This play type is a Melodrama. The play consists of a dysfunctional family, a mother and her two daughters, who clash throughout the play. The mother physically and mentally abuses her daughters throughout the play, and Ruth(the oldest sister) tries to make her younger sister Tillie seem like the bad sister, when in reality, Tillie is the only one striving to make something of herself.

The play structure is Climactic. Throughout the play, it feels like the story is endlessly building up to the climax. 

The major conflict of The Effect of Gamma Rays On Man-In-Moon Marigolds is an arduous conflict. Many believe that in black in white the climax is Beatrice against her children, but it goes much deeper than that.  I believe that the major conflict of The Effect of Gamma Rays On Man-In-Moon Marigolds is, Success vs. Failure.
(Beatrice always complains about her life, or lack there of. In the first scene, Beatrice asks Tillie about her science experiment, when Tillie tells her about half-life( her experiment was exposed to Cobalt-60). Instead of listening to Tillie's interesting inquiries, Beatrice puts herself into the sentence when she says something along the lines of, " Half-Life? Why don't you just ask me, I have the half-life.")

Within the conflict, the characters involved represent different things. 
Beatrice is the failure of the conflict, she represents the main antagonist towards allowing success from her daughters to flourish. She constantly tries to make her daughter's fail, due to her jealousy of her own life failures. 
Ruth represents the result of the potential success turned to failure. Ruth listens to her mother's  psychopathology to try and stay on good terms with her, and it ultimately ends in her nervous breakdown. Even though Ruth does everything her mother asks, she is still abused and has to make her sister seem like the bad one just to cope, when in reality she has become an unstable person. She lives a normal lifestyle, but her mother's abuse has ultimately made her psychotic, which she even goes into treatment for.
Matilda(Tillie) represents the success of the story. Even though she has taken the majority of her mother's abuse, been bullied and made a laughingstock at school, and been mistreated by her sister, she thrives in science and uses it and her teacher, Mr. Goodman's mentoring to create a science project that wins the science fair through perseverance. She does not allow her mother's attempts to foil her stand in the way of her success.

The Climax of the play comes when Tillie realizes she wins the science fair. Her flowers exposed to too much radiation die and wither away, however those exposed to a little of radiation blossom into beautiful marigolds. This proves that good can come from a bit of poison, in a way, Tillie herself is the symbol of the marigold's success. 

Characters wants:
Beatrice: Beatrice's want is simple. She does not want evil, she just believes that since she hasn't had positive, that she wants her house to be controlled and wants her children to have the same mistreatment she had.
Tillie: Tillie wants to succeed in something, and uses science to her advantage to create something magnificent. She also wants her family to become functional and her mother's abuse to stop.
Ruth: Ruth is unstable and also wants her family to be functional and have her mother's abuse stop. She continuously tries to please her mother, but the abuse cannot be stopped completely. She also wants Tillie's rabbit.
Nanny: She just wants to live, she does not want anything hard to obtain.
Janice Vickery: Janice Vickery like Tillie wants to win the science fair, and is her rival. Her experiment is questionable.

The subject of the play is perseverance. Even with hardships, if you persevere and try hard, you can create success.

 The idea of the play is to see the effect of what the abuse of a mother has on her children. In a way, the family is the marigolds. Radiation(abuse) to Ruth makes her unstable and go insane, while the radiation(abuse) to Tillie makes her prosper and create something beautiful. One should get the idea that, with enough hard work, and enough mental stability, anyone can reach their dreams, ANYONE

This play means a lot to me. I can relate to this very well, because my parents were very mentally abusive. Now they never tried to seriously physically abuse me, not that I would have let them, but I completely grasp the concepts of this play. While many people will say, " I will never do that to my kids," most tend to do the exact same thing to their kids. The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds has this same concept. Beatrice only treats her children how she was treated subconsciously. Tillie represents the youth with willpower to overcome adversity and succeed. Even with the worst situations and a mother that continuously beats down her ideas, hopes, and dreams, she somehow creates science. Although Tillie is anti-social and forever scared from her mom, she is the good seed that came from the poison her mom sprouted onto her children, just as the beautiful marigold from the Cobalt-60 radiation.

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