Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Christy, in a prologue and forty-six chapters, recounts eleven months in the life of naïve, untried nineteen-year-old Christy Huddleston. Through a first-person narrator, Catherine Marshall has set out a young woman’s coming-of-age, the struggles and triumphs of her first year on her own.

In the novel’s prologue, Marshall explains that her purpose is to describe a pivotal year in her mother’s life. The facts are true; the characters are drawn from real people, and the locale is identical to that of her mother’s youth—only names are altered. Without its prologue, Christy is fiction—with it, Christy takes on the reality of a biographical account. The straightforward narrative unfolds through the eyes of the nineteen-year-old protagonist. With her parents’ reluctant consent, Christy responds to a call for volunteers to teach school in the remote mountains of Tennessee. Although no one greets Christy at the railroad station when she arrives, she finds her own way to her destination of Cutter Gap. When she finally reaches the Cove, she discovers that the man sent to meet her train has been seriously injured on his way there and she witnesses a crude surgical operation under primitive conditions that saves his life. Christy moves into the mission house under the watchful eye of Alice Henderson, the Quaker missionary-teacher in charge of Cutter Gap school, where Christy discovers that she is expected to teach sixty-seven...

(The entire section is 505 words.)