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Free Study Guide: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

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STARGIRL BY JERRY SPINELLI: STUDY NOTES / ONLINE CHAPTER NOTES

CHAPTER 9

Summary

The phenomenon where frogs lie buried in the bottom of dry ponds waiting for rain is described. It is compared to what happened at Mica High School in December and January. All the dormant abilities of humans to act humanely can be equated with the dormant abilities of the frogs in the dry ponds.

Seeing the student body become more like Stargirl pleased Leo. But, when he described what happened as a miracle, he was cautioned by Archie. Archie warned him that miracles do not last.

Notes

Chapter 9 is less than three pages long. It is an attempt by the author to illustrate in an understandable way, what was happening at Mica High School.


CHAPTER 10


Summary

Oblivious to Archie’s warning about miracles not lasting, Leo changed his mind and decided to have Stargirl on Hot Seat. She agreed without any hesitation. She was scheduled for a mid-February show. It was easy to gather jurors. Everyone wanted to be on the jury. Then three unconnected events occurred.

One day a notice was put on the school bulletin board quoting the strange way that Stargirl said the Pledge of Allegiance. It could be considered to be somewhat disrespectful just by the fact that it was different, but it did not seem to be overtly offensive. After it was publicized, some of the other students adopted it.

Anna Grisdale’s grandfather died and his family had a funeral for him. Stargirl went to the funeral even though she did not know the man. Anna’s mother took offense at this, feeling that her father should be of no concern to Stargirl. Anna’s mother caused a scene as she ejected Stargirl from the gathering.

Danny Pike, a nine year old, had an accident while riding his bicycle. The accident caused a blood clot in his brain. This was serious. When he returned home from the hospital, his family had a welcome home party for him. He received a new bicycle to replace the damaged one. No one in the family knew who gave it to him. But, the high schoolers knew. One clue for them was the published picture of the gathering where the bicycle was presented. Standing with the family in the photo was Stargirl.

Notes

Chapter 8, which relates minor incidents that led slowly to an increase in Stargirl’s popularity and this chapter, which relates minor incidents that led slowly to a decrease in her popularity, illustrate how social dynamics work.

By attending the funeral of Anna’s grandfather Stargirl expressed her belief that we are all interconnected.


CHAPTER 11

Summary

Stargirl did not seem to understand what her job as cheerleader was supposed to be. She cheered everyone, not just her team. This was just a continuation of how she lived life. She was always cheering people on and congratulating them and sympathizing with them. She did not enjoy seeing people lose even when it was a result of her team winning. She was on a collision course with the hubris that developed as the Mica Area High School basketball team had a winning streak.

At one away game Stargirl left the gym because the other team was losing badly. She did not want to make their misery worse. Being a part of what was making them feel bad would have made her sad. After the game, the other cheerleaders found out why she left the gym and told the basketball team. She was supposed to make the two-hour return trip with the cheerleaders and the basketball team, but they tricked her. They set it up so that she was left behind.

Notes

As they got to know her, some of Stargirl’s good qualities seemed to rub off on the other students. But, her dislike for making others unhappy did not rub off.

When Stargirl joined the cheerleading squad she caused more people to become interested in the basketball team. This most likely contributed to team improvement. In the past fans had been accustomed to losing. But, when the team improved, the fans forgot how to lose graciously. In their interactions with each other, they had become more like Stargirl, but in their actions and attitude at games they had became less like her.


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