Study Guide

The View from Saturday Friendship

By E. L. Konigsburg

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When we finally got together, I thought we would have fun. We did not. Either I had changed, or they had changed, or all of us had. I would not try again. I concluded that many friendships are born and maintained for purely geographical reasons. I preferred Ginger. ("Nadia Tells of Turtle Love".16)

Nadia's disillusioning experience with friendship takes place in Florida; in New York, she develops friendships that seem to cross time and space. Hm, wonder where we should move next?

Inside me there was a lot of best friendship that no one but Ginger was using. ("Nadia Tells of Turtle Love".98-99)

Nadia may seem jaded about friendship, but she's lonely. She's got a deep reservoir of friendship that Julian is able to see—and that must be why he invites her to tea.

That very first summer after Margaret Draper retired was when Eva Marie Olinski left teaching. That was the summer of her automobile accident. For all the many months following the accident, Mrs. Draper stayed in touch with the young Mrs. Olinski. They were both widows now, and they saw each other on a regular basis. (3.5)

Mrs. Draper and Mrs. Olinski become friends when Mrs. Draper pities and cares for Mrs. Olinski after her accident. But of course Konigsburg can't say that straight out.

I ran down the bus steps and hooked my arm through Julian's and began walking rapidly toward the school. Julian hardly had time to react before we were at the gate. I held onto Julian, blocking him from Michael Froelich. ("Ethan Explains the B and B Inn".66)

Even when Ethan's not ready to be friends with Julian, he acts like a friend. If it walks like a friend and acts like a friend—well, maybe it really is a friend.

"What is the difference between a pig sty and the sixth grade?" I asked.

Julian said, "I don't know. What is the difference?"

"In a pig sty an ass is a ham."

Julian quietly said thank you, and no one asked why. ("Ethan Explains the B and B Inn".195-198)

Like a lot of other things in this novel, Ethan's offer of friendship is secret. Julian know that, even though Ham wrote "I am a ass" on Julian's bag, the real jerk has always been Ham.

We rested our elbows on the table's edge and reached toward the center of the table until our hands clutched. "We are now The Souls," Nadia said. When we released our hands, each of us was holding a shiny new penny. ("Ethan Explains the B and B Inn".245)

Oh, come on. We can buy Julian slipping pennies into one or even two people's hands—but all three of them? That's some seriously hinky magic going on.

The Souls listened and were not embarrassed to hear, and I was not embarrassed to say, "I would like to live over the day of our first tea party. And, look," I added, "every Saturday since, I get to do just that." ("Ethan Explains the B and B Inn".259)

This is kinda interesting. Each of the other Souls picks a day that's important for his or her own identity, that has been a meaningful moment in his or her life. Only Ethan selects the one day when they all cemented their friendship.

For reasons we had not spoken of, yet each of us understood, none of us was ready to reveal our association. ("Julian Narrates When Ginger Played Annie's Sandy".89)

The Souls are a self-contained unit. Later, when they're playing for Epiphany as an official team, they'll get recognition without even trying. At this point in the story, though, their friendship is more precious because it's a secret.

Suddenly Nadia Diamondstein thrust her left leg straight out into the aisle. Noah Gershom, who was three seats in back of her, stuck out his right leg. Ethan Potter saw and raised his right arm in the air. As if on cue, Julian Singh raised his left fist. For a moment above and below eye level, all four limbs stuck out, and then, just as quickly, all four disappeared. It was quite a balancing act. (6.27)

Here, The Souls show their friendship and their support for Mrs. Olinski by mimicking the shape of Julian's monkey statue. Like the statue, they support and balance each other.

Her team seemed to communicate with a secret stealth language that slipped beneath thought. (7.12)

It's almost as though the Souls are psychic—or a single shared mind, coming to assimilate you.

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