Jeanie is self-conscious about being poor: her sleeve has pulled away from the seam, she has no money to spend at the movies, or even to purchase a Coke. She shrinks from the tall boy, Norman, who is interested in her probably because it seems futile to go with someone when she has no nice clothes or spending money.
She walked along the busy street, aimlessly looking in the store windows.
As she walks home, she takes mere glimpses through store windows at things forbidden to her because of her penury: she feels her life really has no "aim," no direction.
It is not until she writes from her heart--"truth"--and Miss Lowry reads her story before the class and Marion, "the incomparable Marion," comments that Jeanie's writing "was so real....You felt you were right there in the kitchen" that Jeanie attains self-esteem. There is no cost for "truth"; it is a beauty attained from the words of the heart.