How we cite our quotes:
Everyone in his family had always liked the fact that "Stanley Yelnats" was spelled the same frontward and backward. So they kept naming their sons Stanley. Stanley was an only child, as was every other Stanley Yelnats before him.
All of them had something else in common. Despite their awful luck, they always remained hopeful. As Stanley's father liked to say, "I learn from failure."
But perhaps that was part of the curse as well. If Stanley and his father weren't always hopeful, then it wouldn't hurt so much every time their hopes were crushed. (3.21-23)
Family is both a blessing and curse (literally!). Stanley is able to keep the hope alive because, well, it's in his genes. But the narrator suggests that maybe this hope isn't always the best way to stay happy. What do you think?
"If it makes you feel better to call me Mom, Theodore, go ahead and call me Mom." (5.36)
Why do the boys call Mr. Pendanski "Mom"? Is there something motherly about him? And one other thing: are they just making fun of this guy, or is there some comfort in thinking about D Tent as a kind of family?
"What's in the box?" asked Squid.
Stanley had forgotten he had brought it. "Uh, paper. I was going to write a letter to my mother."
"Your mother?" laughed Squid.
"She'll worry if I don't."
Squid scowled. (9.37-41)
Squid scowled. Awesome sentence, don't you think? But why does Squid scowl when he finds out that Stanley is writing to his mother? What does it tell us about Squid himself, and his relationship to his own family?