Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344


One of Wharton's first novels to deal frankly with a young woman's sexual awakening, Summer created a sensation when it was published in 1917. Praised for its realism and candor by such writers as Joseph Conrad and Henry James, it is now considered a classic of American and women's literature.


This book is not a hard read. If anything, one believes the plot to follow the expectations. It does not. The real value in reading this book is in the descriptive element. It is beautifully written with descriptive wording that can be savored. It also has an undertone of emotionality that is worth experiencing as both a male and female reader. In the reading, it is clear why, in 1917 when first published, it created a stir. It implies a sexuality and moral stand most probably not discussed at the time. Yet, this sexuality is delightfully contained between the lines. Certainly this is not in your face or something sexually stimulating. The subtle issues and expectations that sometimes do not happen, only in your mind, are part of the journey. Certainly the main character, Charity comes of age and awakens to love and reality close on love's heels. Even her name is symbolic. A good read that finds a pondering of life after reading. This would be a great book to discuss in class or literary circles for multiple levels of point of view and speculation. A Classic.--Submitted by P. Meeker

Fan of this book? Help us introduce it to others by writing a better introduction for it. It's quick and easy, click here.

Recent Forum Posts on Summer

No Subject

I believe that Charity is not only a naive character, but she doesn't know who she really wants to be in life. She is not sure of her aspirations and whether or not North Dormer can actually help her conquer them. Lucius Harney is supposed to highlight the fact that Charity is such a weak character, because he is too. They are both searching for growth in their lives but cannot see outside of their existance to grow from their experiences. Mr. Royall, is very similar to Charity in the fact that he is unsure of his person, but he contrasts Charity in a way to compliment her growth as a person. He allows her space enough to grow but a reinforcement when she may need it. Summer was written to show that relationships do not work out when neither character can grow and change together, and that is why in the end, Charity finds herself with her first suitor, her father character, Mr. Royall.

No Subject

Summer is a fascinating portrayal of human nature, richly written yet brief in dialogue. It's scope encompasses a range of intriguing topics: the change in perspective that comes from the transition from adolescence to adulthood (and from young adulthood to middle age and beyond), the notion that the grass is always greener, the regret of opportunities lost, and the experiencing of disappointment, betrayal, loyalty and friendship. Summer portrays a slice of life, although one cut with a jagged knife. The characters, like the setting of North Dormer, are far less than perfect. But it is out of their flawed views and actions that we gain a glimpse into the rich complexity of their humanity. Out of their flaws, they find resolution. While it may be difficult to accept the outcome by today's cultural standards, it no doubt adds to the mystery and, yes, reality of the novel's characters.

No Subject

Summer is not a bad book. It is a beautiful book, in my opinion, because the symbolism of the summer awakening is like Charity herself awakening. Lucius was weak but he is not a failure as a written character. His weakness is a very typical thing in some people and Charity was very mature to realize this and let him go. But how Charity could marry Mr. Royal is beyond me.
Still, I enjoyed the book. It spoke to me the sad truth of life for so many of us.... Sometimes we must settle and let our dreams go.

No Subject

This was a bad book. The characters all have some of the worst possible qualities. Charity is naive and ignorant, yet acts like the queen of North Dormer. Lucius Harney is conniving and cruel to Charity, decieving her because he knows she is weak. Lawyer Royall takes advantage of Charity, like Harney, and while saves her, chooses what is almost literally a path of incest, regardless of what went on during that time. The doctor is mean, and most of the smaller roles have some sort of fault.

No Subject

where is the feminism in here?

Post a New Comment/Question on Summer

Related links for Edith Wharton

Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about Edith Wharton written by other authors featured on this site.

Sorry, no links available.

Edith Wharton

Sorry, no summary available yet.