by Jerry Spinelli
Stargirl Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"It's in the morning, for most of us. It's that time, those few seconds when we're coming out of sleep but we're not really awake yet. For those few seconds we're something more primitive than what we are about to become. We have just slept the sleep of our most distant ancestors, and something of them and their world still clings to us. For those few moments we are unformed, uncivilized. We are not the people we know as ourselves, but creatures more in tune with a tree than a keyboard. We are untitled, un-named, natural, suspended between was and will be, the tadpole before the frog, the worm before the butterfly. We could be. And then… we open our eyes and the day is before us and… we become ourselves" (19.37-38).
Do you have those moments in the early morning before you open your eyes? When you are waking up tomorrow, try to think about this idea and see what happens. Archie believes it is in these few moments as we are waking up that we are the closest to our past and our true humanity. Sounds like a good way to start the day.
"A condor wouldn't come up to [a Moa's] knee. Make an ostrich look small. Twelve, thirteen feet tall. Maybe the biggest bird ever. Couldn't fly. Lived in New Zealand. Died out hundreds of years ago. Killed off by people."
"Half their size," said Susan (27.63).
Mr. McShane is telling Susan about a long extinct bird, the Moa. He tells of their great size and how men killed them off, and Susan notes that a man would be half the size of a Moa. This ancient struggle can be compared to the struggle that Susan is going through. She is allowing people who are half her size (figuratively—not literally) to make Stargirl become extinct.
"He believes mockingbirds may do more than imitate other birds. I mean other living birds. He thinks they may also imitate the sounds of birds that are no longer around. He thinks the sounds of extinct birds are passed down the years from mockingbird to mockingbird" (27.70).
As Archie has pointed out to Stargirl, mockingbirds do not have their own song; they copy the sounds of the birds around them. If this is the case, it is totally possible that they have been imitating the sounds of extinct birds that their ancestors heard and copied. It would be fascinating to hear the sounds that existed on this planet many, many years ago, wouldn't it? Here's hoping Archie's right.