Study Guide

Turtle in Paradise Art and Culture

By Jennifer L. Holm

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Art and Culture

We've never met anyone who hates Shirley Temple quite as much as Turtle in Turtle in Paradise. Come to think of it, we've never come across anyone who hates Shirley Temple at all. Turtle's aggression toward the young star isn't really about the curly-haired singer as much as it is about what she's selling, though—the perfect Hollywood movie life where everything is perfect all the time. Turtle's got major beef with the movie industry for tricking ordinary people into thinking their lives can be so wonderful, too. Turtle sees right through their tricks, though, thankyouverymuch.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Why does Turtle hate Shirley Temple specifically? Do you feel like there are any film stars or artists out there who are similar to her today? 
  2. Turtle thinks it's all Hollywood's fault that people dream big and expect them to come true. Do you agree? Do movies make us believe we all get our wishes to come true? 
  3. Does Turtle secretly wish for a Hollywood ending? Do you think she disses Hollywood as part of a defense mechanism?

Chew on This

Even though Turtle hates Hollywood and everything it represents, she still wants a happy ending. She buys into the myth of a happy ending just as much as anyone else.

Hollywood is selling happy endings the same way Archie is selling dreams; neither of them will come true, but people want to believe they will.

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