The protagonist in WHITE LILACS is Rose Lee Jefferson. The antagonist in WHITE LILACS is the whole white community except Catherine Jane and Emily Frith.

In WHITE LILACS the main conflict is whether the black community in Dillon, Texas will have to move to another place against their will. The secondary conflicts are: Rose Lee had to learn to set the table right.  If she did not she would be fired. Henry was mouthing off white people.  This eventually led to him being tarred and feathered. 

His family had to find a place for him to hide so nothing else would happen to him. The citizens of the black community (Freedom) had to find a new place to go to school because the white people had burned the colored school down. This happened because of the fact that no people were moving out of Freedom. Rose Lee¹s parents had a harder time getting enough money to survive.

This is after they moved out of Freedom. Grandfather Jim had a hard time replanting his “Garden Of Eden” after they moved. Not just because of the poor soil conditions but he never could replace the real “Garden Of Eden” The close friends and family of Rose Lee had a great morning to overcome.  Due to the death of Grandfather Jim and the fact that they had lost so much.

The time of the book is in the spring through the fall in the year 1921. This is until the end when Rose Lee grows up and moves away. The place the story is set in is Dillon, Texas mostly in Freedom (until it is destroyed) or in Mr. and Mrs. Bells’ house or yard.

The mood of WHITE LILACS is a combination of anger, confusion, despair, hopelessness, sorrow, joy, and being belittled. The theme of WHITE LILACS is that “you should not take things for granted things could get worse soon”. Or it can be a cold cruel world out there especially if you are black.


At the beginning of the book WHITE LILACS, you meet Roes lee, Jefferson. Rose Lee has to go work for Mrs. Bell because her other sister being pregnant. She overhears a conversation to get of the black community and replace it with a park. Rose Lee tells her parents of what she heard and soon the whole black community is filled with anger, confusion, despair, and hopelessness.

Dillon has a vote to see if there will be a park but rig it so that only property owners can vote. This gives about three to one odd for the park. The decision is made and the town buys the properties of Freedom at a fraction of their worth and moves the houses in freedom to another part of town. There is a brief overview of the rest of Rose Lee’s life and trails off talking about her grandfather’s prized white lilac.

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


  1. true, but i need a little more summary. we’re doing a very hard reader response project at school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment