Study Guide

Rita Matsika in The Ear, the Eye, the Arm

By Nancy Farmer

Rita Matsika

Tendai's younger sister is a force to be reckoned with. She's stubborn, assertive, and bossy. It doesn't matter that she's just a kid—she has no problem telling you like it is. On the one hand, we really admire this about Rita. The Mellower does, too:

He praised Rita for winning a National Science Prize. He expressed happiness over her plumpness, which showed promise of great beauty. (1.58)

You go girl, right? On the other hand, though, these attributes can be a sign of her immaturity. It's fine for Rita to have strong opinions and want to express them, but sometimes she needs to learn to bite her tongue. Her rambunctious personality gets her and her brothers into trouble more than once, and Tendai often has to calm her down in order to keep them all safe.

We get it. She's smart, so why shouldn't she be vocal? Ordinarily, we'd be all for that. But different rules apply when you're kidnapped or taken to an ancient village. Rita's gusto is part of her charm, but it's also her kryptonite. (Not that we can see Superman getting kidnapped—don't be ridiculous.) Still, it's probably easier to learn to bite your tongue than it is to assert yourself, and Rita's just a kid still, so we're thinking she's well on her way to being totally awesome.

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