Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 280
Julie's Summer portrays Julie Robinson, a young girl with definite opinions about life, struggling for personal and economic independence in a small community that seems to be ruled by an unwritten code of conduct and gossip. She stays behind to finish her senior year of high school when her parents leave the hills of Greene County in southern Indiana. Julie stays in a spare room at the back of Maud Arthur's dress shop where she works part-time for her room and board. Her life soon becomes a grim routine when the proprietor of the dress shop, Maud Arthur, puts a stop to visits by Floyd Perry, a childhood friend. Julie is determined to abide by Maud's strict rules because a high school diploma will help fulfill her dream of going to college and becoming a teacher. Then Chance Cooper, a young man working with the electric company to bring electricity to Greene County, appears in town and further complicates Julie's life.
After Julie earns her diploma, Floyd helps her find a job in a nearby town, and she sets out to make a new life for herself. She soon finds that whom she spends her time with, where she goes, and what she says seems to become everyone's business but her own. She sees no reason why she should have to choose between Chance and Floyd and wishes everyone would just mind his or her own business.
Thrasher examines the universal need for young people to assert their independence and stay true to their own feelings, and Julie's Summer makes a worthy contribution to the reader's understanding of the struggle poor people faced in rural America during the Great Depression.
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