Study Guide

Missing May Mortality

By Cynthia Rylant

Mortality

Death is a really big factor in Missing May since the whole story revolves around how Summer and her uncle Ob deal with Aunt May's death. Summer isn't the kind of kid who runs around singing about sunshine and unicorns and ignoring the existence of death—nope, she's got more in common with the kids in A Series of Unfortunate Events who are well aware that death and misfortune are lurking around every single corner. And so the characters spend a lot of time worrying and thinking about death. They wonder what happened to Aunt May after she died, and Summer spends a good deal of time worrying that Uncle Ob will die of a broken heart.

Questions About Mortality

  1. How does Summer deal with the fact that so many people in her life have died? 
  2. Is Uncle Ob having a healthy response to Aunt May's death? Why or why not? 
  3. Is Uncle Ob worried about his own death? Why do you think so? 
  4. Do you think death is a villain or a hero in the story? Or is it something else altogether?

Chew on This

It doesn't matter whether or not Aunt May can really reach Uncle Ob and Summer from beyond the grave—all that matters in the end is that they can feel her presence and take comfort in it.

Although death has been a big part of Summer's young life already, she inevitably always chooses life time and again.

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