Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
"She was homeschooling gone amok." "She was an alien." "Her parents were circus acrobats." These are only a few of the theories concocted to explain Stargirl Caraway, a new 10th grader at Arizona's Mica Area High School who wears pioneer dresses and kimonos to school, strums a ukulele in the cafeteria, laughs when there are no jokes, and dances when there is no music. The whole school, not exactly a "hotbed of nonconformity," is stunned by her, including our 16-year-old narrator Leo Borlock: "She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl."
In time, incredulity gives way to out-and-out adoration as the student body finds itself helpless to resist Stargirl's wide-eyed charm, pure-spirited friendliness, and penchant for celebrating the achievements of others. In the ultimate high school symbol of acceptance, she is even recruited as a cheerleader. Popularity, of course, is a fragile and fleeting state, and bit by bit, Mica sours on their new idol. Why is Stargirl showing up at the funerals of strangers? Worse, why does she cheer for the opposing basketball teams? The growing hostility comes to a head when she is verbally flogged by resentful students on Leo's televised Hot Seat show in an episode that is too terrible to air. While the playful, chin-held-high Stargirl seems impervious to the shunning that ensues, Leo, who is in the throes of first love (and therefore scornfully deemed "Starboy"), is not made of such strong stuff: "I became angry. I resented having to choose. I refused to choose. I imagined my life without her and without them, and I didn't like it either way."
In the book Stargirl, Stargirl is a strong individual who knows where she came from, knows who she is and where she fits in in life. However, when going to a new school all of her beliefs, morals and even her own unique style is questioned. In my opinion, Stargirl was a very open minded person and did okay when it came to change. Why as a society is it so important to us to conform to a certain group or norm when we all know very well that each person is so unique and individual in their own way?
Just Another Girl
This is a poem that I wrote after I had read a Cosmopolitan. This is not meant to be offensive. I do enjoy reading these types of magazines, but I do not let them conrol my lifestyle. The poem is based upon how they may restrict individuality. How do you think that Stargirl would react to these magazines? What about Susan? Do you in some way feel they restrict individuality? What other comments or opinions do you have?
Stargirl was never afraid to be herself and was known to write her own songs. She would sing about anything from triangles to birthdays. In her spirit we present "Chapstick".
Has there ever been a time where you sang an impromptu song; what was is about and what were people's reactions? If not, how would you react to seeing "Chapstick" performed in your everyday life?
Stargirl and Leo had a unique relationship that sadly ended, and Stargirl disappeared. What do you think would have happened with the two characters after the book ends? What do you think would happen if they ever ran in to eachother years later. How do you think Leo would remember Stargirl in the future? How about how Stargirl would remember Leo?