Since Lily's mother supposed deserted her daughter at an early age, Rosaleen was the only female influence in Lily's life. At this time in adolescence, puberty becomes an overwhelming issue. Rosaleen helps Lily adapt to adulthood and becomes her only source of information. Rosaleen is Lily's only friend. The young girl escorts Rosaleen to register to vote. Lily witnesses racial hatred and Rosaleen's beating. Rescuing her from the jail, Lily accompanies Rosaleen in her flight from the law. The two journey toward the only hints of the past that Lily has about her mother. At any time, the two of them could have gone their separate ways, but they clung to each other helping to bridge the uncertain world between blacks and whites, and abusive fathers and abused daughters.
Once arriving at the Boatwrights, Lily and Rosaleen share the quarters in the honey business shed. Over time, each finds her own place in the sisters' home. Rosaleen remains Lily's confidant and later helps repair the fragmented memories of the frightened five year old Lily whose memories of her mother's shooting haunt her.