Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Robert Burch creates a portrait of a young girl in a small rural town in Georgia during the Great Depression. Queenie Peavy is the story of an adolescent who loves her father, who is an inmate at the penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. Cravey Mason, the school bully, leads the other children as they tease and torment Queenie about her father being on the chain gang. Queenie cannot bear for the children to make fun of her father’s situation, and she retaliates by throwing rocks at the children or by playing tricks on them. She goes to great extremes to defend her father’s honor whenever Cravey Mason taunts her. On one occasion, Queenie causes him to break his leg. She is constantly at odds with the people who love her and who want to see her change her delinquent behavior. It takes the threat of a possible term at a reformatory school and the realization that her view of her father is not entirely accurate for Queenie to confront the internal and external conflicts occurring in her life.

Written in third-person narration, the story introduces Queenie in the first sentence; Burch describes her as “the only girl in Cotton Junction who could chew tobacco.” As the story progresses, Queenie and the other characters are quickly and clearly developed through their actions and dialogue. The setting is described by the narrator, but from Queenie’s point of view. It is through these descriptions of her thoughts that readers begin to suspect that...

(The entire section is 468 words.)