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Quotes

Quote #4

Leslie was still dressed in the faded cutoffs and the blue undershirt. She had sneakers on her feet but no socks. Surprise swooshed up from the class like steam from a released radiator cap. They were all sitting there primly dressed in their spring Sunday best. (3.2)

Even though Leslie's family probably has more money than any of the other families in town, that doesn't mean she automatically stands out in a good way. Wealth doesn't guarantee familiarity with new customs or help you fit in with new friends. How would Leslie have known to wear her "Sunday best" to school, especially when, as we learn later, she doesn't even go to church?

Quote #5

"My parents are reassessing their value structure."

"Huh?"

"They decided they were too hooked on money and success, so they bought that old farm and they're going to farm it and think about what's important." (4.25-27)

Of course, having the ability to "reassess […] value structure" means having enough money to do so without stressing about putting a roof over your head or food on the table. Because the Burkes have enough money, they can take time to "think about" things that matter, like values, morals, and aesthetics. We wonder if this is a little bit naïve of Leslie's parents because unless they keep providing their family with a certain amount of money and success, they won't have the luxury of working on their "value[s]."

Quote #6

They didn't look like Jess's idea of rich, but even he could tell that the jeans they wore had not come off the counter at Newberry's. There was no TV at the Burkes', but there were mountains of records and a stereo set that looked like something off Star Trek. And although their car was small and dusty, it was Italian and looked expensive, too. (4.135)

It's not just about having money, it's about what you do with it. The Burkes don't flaunt their wealth, but they have nice things, and they're able to express their value system through their purchases. They fill their home with music, books, and art, and although they don't appear stereotypically "rich," they're clearly rich in other ways. (In comparison, with as little money as Jess's family has, they still have a TV, but artistic pursuits are not encouraged in that house.)

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