Early twentieth-century Christianity is typically seen as backdrop, rather than foreground, in Wharton's work. Yet the 2016 American Literature Association panel on Wharton and religion, of which this article was originally a part, demonstrated the need to move religion from backdrop to foreground, especially, perhaps, with Wharton's New England fiction. My reading of Summer suggests that Wharton assessed the culture of Christianity around her in the rural New England of the era more carefully than has been previously supposed. The author's careful distribution of religious imagery and rhetoric at strategic points in the novel works to mark Charity's defiance and to resolve her liminality. In Summer, figures of religious authority mediate Charity's transition from the Mountain to North Dormer, from North Dormer to the Mountain, and back again.

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