Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Literature Series Rich in Love Analysis

While the novel was not intended for young adult readers, it relates to their lives and can provide insight into their problems. The protagonist, Lucille Odom, is a well-adjusted, intelligent high school senior who has thought about the greenhouse effect, the psychology of shopping, the relationship between Charleston’s past and that of the ancient town of Herculaneum, how Charleston’s new developments have laid waste the tranquil countryside around her, and the troubled history of white and black people in the United States. Nevertheless, Lucille believes that she is not “ready” to deal with the world. She is, she finds, too threatened by change and unable to accept its inevitability.

Whereas in the past she has discouraged her mother from remodeling the house or throwing away bric-a-brac stored in family cupboards, Lucille learns to become more flexible, adventurous, and open to change in the course of the novel. Her mother’s new life, Rhody Poole’s advice, and her sister Rae’s changing roles all help Lucille reformulate her concept of adult femininity. There is no secure past, no traditional role, that guarantees human happiness; identity must be sought from within. Lucille is ready for change, ready to meet life’s challenges. She is eager to help the next generation of women (through her niece, Phoebe) develop an inner strength and meet life’s trials.

Because of her mother’s sudden departure from home, Lucille has...

(The entire section is 535 words.)