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by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl Theme of Memory and the Past

Stargirl tells us a great deal about our ancient past as humans, and how connecting to that past can help us understand ourselves better. By focusing on these remnants of the past, before we created planes, trains and automobiles, we may learn some interesting things about the universe and ourselves as humans. That's what Stargirl does, and it brings her great joy and meaning. That's what Archie does, too, and he seems quite content with his lot in life. We can't forget that we come from the earth and will return to it, too. Or at least that's what Stargirl would have us believe.

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. What do Archie and Mr. McShane teach Stargirl and Leo about mockingbirds and Moas? Does that tell us anything about our connections to the past and the natural world?
  2. Does Leo's relationship to the past change over the course of the novel? How does he view his own personal past as an adult?
  3. What has Archie learned about the past through his digs and through his research?
  4. Do you really think Stargirl is a star person?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Stargirl is no star person. And she's not any more connected to the past than the rest of the characters. Archie just says all this to explain away her strangeness.

Stargirl's deep connection to the past is what disconnects her from the present moment. The girl can't make a friend because she's too busy daydreaming about cacti and dead birds.

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