Lydia was an older Black woman whom Maureen’s wealthy family employed as a servant when Maureen was a child growing up in a mining town. She would regularly walk Maureen home from school. Lydia sometimes scolded Maureen, but other times they were “conspirators,” laughing and trading gossip together as friends. Maureen remembers one scene from her childhood when a photographer stopped her and Lydia on the street to take their photograph. In the photograph, which Maureen only stumbles upon years later, Lydia carries Maureen’s backpack balanced atop her head. When Maureen reflects on the photograph as an adult, she can’t believe how unaware she had been of the power dynamics between herself, her family, and Lydia. In retrospect, the backpack balanced on Lydia’s head is a glaring symbol of Lydia’s subservience to Maureen. Maureen reflects on this memory of Lydia during her stay in July’s village, implicitly drawing a connection between her former ignorance about the nature of her and Lydia’s relationship and her present inability to make sense of her relationship with July.
Lydia Quotes in July’s People
The July’s People quotes below are all either spoken by Lydia or refer to Lydia. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:).
Chapter 5 Quotes
Did the photographer know what he saw, when they crossed the road like that, together? Did the book, placing the pair in its context, give the reason she and Lydia, in their affection and ignorance, didn’t know?
Lydia Character Timeline in July’s People
The timeline below shows where the character Lydia appears in July’s People. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.