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Free Study Guide: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

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STARGIRL: LITERARY CRITICISM / SYNOPSIS OF THE NOVEL

CHAPTER 17

Summary

Leo now knew that he was in love. He was uncomfortable with the realization that the rest of the school also knew that he was. He kept a low profile during lunch in order to avoid attention.

After school Leo and Stargirl walked out into the desert. Stargirl wanted to show Leo an enchanted place.

After a long walk, Stargirl, Leo and Cinnamon reached their destination. At first, Leo was disappointed because the place did not seem any more enchanted than the rest of the desert. With direction from Stargirl Leo was able to begin to lose himself in the universe while sitting lotus style facing the setting sun. It would take more practice before he could lose himself completely, but he did make a start.


Notes

By the beginning of this chapter Leo knew that he was in love. We knew that he was in love as we read the previous chapter where he walked to Stargirl’s house.


CHAPTER 18

Summary

During the following days, because he was in love, Leo’s attention was focused on Stargirl. He did not notice what the crowd in the hallway was doing. Then, one day he noticed that the other students were avoiding him and Stargirl.

At lunch Leo asked Kevin to explain. Kevin said that the other students were acting that way, not because of him, but because of his companion. Stargirl was being given the silent treatment.

In answer to a barrage of questions, Kevin told Leo that it had happened slowly after she had cheered the competing basketball teams. Leo tried to rationalize Stargirl’s actions, but Kevin said that Leo had to convince the rest of the students.

The silent treatment continued. Stargirl did not notice, or at least did not appear to notice. But, to Leo, knowing what was happening was chilling.

Notes

The attitude of the students did not change right when Leo noticed the shunning. It had been going on for awhile already. But, before he noticed, it had no effect on him.


CHAPTER 19

Summary

On his porch, Archie explains to Leo the Amish habit of shunning. He wanted to know if it happened when Leo was not with Stargirl. It didn’t. Archie called Leo a dolphin caught in a tuna net. Leo asked for advice on what to do. Archie told him to stay away from her and his problem would be solved.

Thinking back to his walk in the desert with Stargirl, Leo asked Archie if he believed in enchanted places. Archie did believe.

Then Archie and Leo took a walk into the desert. After hearing more of Leo’s concerns, Archie decided to ask Señor Saguaro for input. Archie translated Señor Saguaro’s reply. It was in the form of a question: Whose affection was of more value to him?

In bed that night Leo realized that while he did understand the question, he did not feel comfortable with the answer.

Notes

Why did Archie refer to Leo as a dolphin caught in a tuna net? Perhaps because he was being treated like Stargirl because of his closeness to her rather than because of anything that he had done.

Somehow, when Archie suggested that Leo could just stay away from Stargirl, it was hard to take him seriously. But, when this man of science said that he believed in enchanted places, he seemed believable. Strange.

Archie asked Señor Saguaro for questions instead of answers. Leo would need to supply the answers.


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