Study Guide

Missing May Abandonment

By Cynthia Rylant

Abandonment

Summer's pretty well set-up with Aunt May and Uncle Ob in Missing May, but that doesn't mean that she's not always looking over her shoulder. After all, she was essentially tossed around from one home to another as a little kid, so she doesn't take anything for granted and is always just a little bit worried that it'll be taken away from her. So when Aunt May dies, Summer and Ob have to deal with their feelings of loss and abandonment, and all the while, Summer's worried that Uncle Ob will die of a broken heart and abandon her. Oof. Those are some pretty big concerns for a little kid, don't you think?

Questions About Abandonment

  1. Do you think Uncle Ob and Aunt May would ever actually abandon Summer? Why or why not? 
  2. How would you feel if your guardians died and left you alone? What would you do? 
  3. How does Aunt May's experience with her parents shape the way she is now? 
  4. Are there similarities between Aunt May and Summer's backgrounds?

Chew on This

Aunt May and Summer are similar in that being abandoned as children didn't turn them bitter or hateful—instead, they both become more loving and giving because of their early experiences.

Even though Uncle Ob and Summer feel as though Aunt May has abandoned them in death, by the end they both realize that she's still around guiding them in the right direction.

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