The Civil Rights Movement affects Lily in several ways. First, it kicks off the plot and ends it, with Rosaleen seeking to register to vote, sending Lily and Rosaleen on their journey, culminating in Rosaleen's finally getting registered. Second, the unrest created by the movement creates great tensions in the story, with Lily's staying with a black family, having a boyfriend who is black, and, of course, the tragedy of May's death. Finally, the movement causes Lily to re-examine everything and everyone around her, no longer accepting the "wisdom" of the racist society in which she has been raised. There are ways in which the journey of the Civil Rights Movement is reflected in Lily's journey to the end of the story, a story of change, pain, and growth for our country and for Lily, as well.