Study Guide

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things Transformation

By Carolyn Mackler

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There's a whole lot of transformation going down in The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. Change is what makes characters interesting, and Virginia makes some pretty radical changes over the course of the book. She dyes her hair purple, gets her eyebrow pierced, and goes shopping at Strawberry instead of Salon Z—but these are only external manifestations of a much bigger internal change. What's really happening is that while Byron's transforming from awesome to pathetic, Virginia's transforming from pathetic to awesome.

Questions About Transformation

  1. Why won't Virginia's parents let her go to Seattle, when they let Anaïs go into the Peace Corps? 
  2. Does Byron actually learn anything about himself when he goes from Columbia student to lonely-guy-on-his-parents'-couch?
  3. Which is a bigger transformation: Virginia with an eyebrow ring, or Shannon with a tongue piercing?
  4. How does Byron's transformation influence Virginia's?

Chew on This

Virginia's parents, who have always pushed her to conform, only begin to approve of her after she rebels against them.

Virginia's belief that Froggy doesn't accept her is more about her own low self-esteem than how he actually feels. When she changes her appearance and her self-esteem improves, she's able to see herself through his eyes—and girl looks good.

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