by Jerry Spinelli
Stargirl Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"She is us more than we are us. She is, I think, who we really are. Or were" (7.17).
According to Archie, Stargirl is closer to a "pure" human than most people. Stargirl is not corrupted by society's rules about how a person should act or be. She is like ancient people who were much more connected to the world around them and considered themselves as part of the earth, not as conquerors of it, like many people think today.
"So, it's not just an act?" said Kevin.
"An act? No. If anybody is acting, it's us. She's as real as"—he looked around; he picked up the tiny, wedge-like skull of Barney, a 60-million-year-old rodent, and held it up—"as real as Barney" (7.24-25).
When they ask Archie for his thoughts on whether Stargirl is real or not, Archie connects her to the ancient past by comparing her to an ancient rodent. (And yes, this is probably the only time in your life you will ever hear someone compare someone to an old rat and mean it as a compliment instead of an insult.) You see, both Stargirl and the ancient skull are. They exist. They are there. They do not pretend to be something other than what they are.
"Well, this fellow here lost his game, too. He was winning for ten million years or so, but found himself in a different league. He hung in there as well as he could. He scored his points, but he kept falling farther and farther behind. The opposition was better, quicker, keener. In the championship game, our boy got annihilated. Not only didn't he show up for class the next day, he never showed up, period. They never saw him again" (15.13).
This somewhat confusing quote from Archie is comparing an ancient animal's battle with survival to their high school basketball team's battle to win. Both the animal and the team were able to succeed for a long time, but both end the same way, with losing. The animal? Extinct. The basketball team? Well, they fell to a stronger team. We're betting Archie thinks it's helpful to keep things in perspective like this. All things win until they lose. It's like a cosmic game we all play.