Sorry these are so late. I've been working a lot the past few days.
I really enjoyed summer. I thought that Wharton used her skill in descriptive writing well again. It's nice because she doesn't over-load the story, or even paragraphs. I get worried with authors whose short stories are very dense with description. I felt it worked very well in this story. And to be honest, I'm usually underwhelmed with novels, I'm pretty picky and I ACTUALLY enjoyed this! And for school, that's a first. I digress.
I like that the plot wasn't completely obvious, even how she wrote the relationship between Charity and Harney wasn't totally obvious. For a while into things, i was being naive thinking they hadn't slept together. When Charity's jealous of Julia, but doesn't fully think she is jealous - I didn't really think there was anything. But when she considers mr. royall, i KNEW she'd end up marrying him. Even when I knew that'd happen, I like that Wharton writes her as suddenly surprised later at what she's done. The way she does this implications that do and don't follow through, creates a mystery throughout the story that holds the reader's attention. At least it held mine.
I at first was annoyed with charity for not telling harney, because the way their romance was, I half expected him to be happy about having spawn...but then I guess from the "discussion" in class, I think she was being noble. The pregnancy would've forced him into marrying her, but i like that she didn't.
I think the ending was a drop off. Not that it was disappointing; i mean, clearly it's meant to be, and maybe she was using that slump off as a device, but it just sort of is. I don't know, I guess that works for her, but maybe it bothered me. I don't quite know yet.
I will add some of my highlighted stuff/underlined later.
I liked that Wharton would be very ambiguous, and yet showy; there was only really implication of things between any of the characters. It took me a while to get to the point of realizing that Harney and Charity went the distance! Foolishly, I thought their young love was just sort of that hand holding stuff...but it was more! Wharton sexualizes things in a way that's very blunt, yet not vulgar. So I suppose that's why I didn't know fully how to read into it. But things like the fireworks scene on the fourth of july, that was very obviously sexualized. So much so that i found myself wondering if there was any possibility they snuck off and first consecrated their relationship right then. But there was no implication of that in her writing, just that they renew their interest in one another and the flame burns anew, and brighter!
Also, the further I read, I noticed more of the death and life metaphors or simile, such as on page 430, when it says "as if she looked at these familiar sights from the other side of the grave." Yet this was only after Mr Royall accused her at Nettleton after running into her and Harney.
I thought it was a bit creepy and obsessive, contrary to what was discussed in class, that she pretends to drop something so she can rub her face on his pillow! (pg 440)
The more I even go back and read around where I've underlined and circled things, Charity seems very naive and I'm unsure of Harney's integrity. Knowing the ending, knowing about Julia whatever her last name was, I read some of his excuses and don't trust him. Such as on 443, when he says he had to visit someone who was to stay with his cousin for the show. Did he really? or was he off to see his real betrothed? And poor charity, just the page before, the narration reads: "He had caught her up and carried her away into a new world." She's swept up in things.
Another place I noted ambiguity having implications was 444. When I realized they were true "lovers" in the typical sense that's used, because of Wharton's drop off with the "..." to transition to the next paragraph.
Again, another death reference that popped out at me, pg 456 "But the words died in her throat..." "...as if some strange death had surprised them." Even, in the nature-related way that she is so often deeply enjoying nature, pg 457 "but the freedom of her spirit drooped..." like a wilting flower.
I noted also on the bottom of 457, it's funny how she becomes scared of the big outter world, beyond North Dormer. "The address frightened her." It seems she's hit a bit of disillusionment, but also then her independent spirit rises up. Then again on the next page she seems to think the distance is immeasurable; which is not true. She just suddenly thinks it's so far away. She's fooling herself into it; talking herself into it.
I guessed on the bottom of 484 that'd she'd marry Mr Royall just to make a "right woman" out of herself. I wrote it down just to prove. I was right.