Study Guide

The View from Saturday Perseverance

By E. L. Konigsburg

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When I told Tillie that six steps seemed a lot to have to do before you begin, she said, "You must think of those six steps not as preparation for the beginning but as the beginning itself." ("Noah Writes a B & B Letter".26)

Calligraphy isn't for people who like to take shortcuts. (Ahem.) There's no spellcheck, no ctrl+Z, no "save." You have to take your time, and, if the cat jumps on your invitations, you have to think fast.

A year ago last spring he [Nadia's Grandpa Izzy] noticed a blond zaftig woman who was returning about the same time he was leaving, so he began starting out earlier and earlier until, one day, they started out together. He introduced himself and asked her if she would like to take a walk with him. She replied by inviting him to join her on her turtle walk. ("Nadia Tells of Turtle Love".26)

It wasn't enough for Izzy to marry Margaret; he ended up getting "permitted" to handle turtle hatchlings, too. We can't even sit still for an hour at a time, and this senior citizen is starting a whole new life.

…between the time she [Margaret Draper Diamondstein] had started as an elementary school teacher and the time she had retired as a middle school principal, sixth grade had changed, but sixth graders had changed more. Sixth graders had stopped asking "Now what?" and had started asking "So what?" She had not been sorry to retire when she did. (3.4)

Sixth graders used to be excited about learning, and now the only thing they'll persevere at is the latest version of Final Fantasy.

This was obviously an invitation. The strangest I had ever received. I not only had never been invited to a tea party before but had never before been invited to a party where I was not told the time and the place. Either the mystery would clear up, or it wouldn't. Either way, I wouldn't give it a second thought or discuss it with anyone. ("Ethan Explains the B and B Inn".92)

Sometimes perseverance isn't the right choice; sometimes, Ethan decides, mysteries aren't meant to be solved.

"I could not believe that anyone would not want one of Ginger's puppies."

"What if Julian has an allergy?"

"If Julian had an allergy—which he does not—he would still want one of Ginger's pups. Ginger is a genius." She looked at me [Ethan] and added, "She is a hybrid genius of unknown I.Q.," and I knew that she was acknowledging our conversation of last summer. ("Ethan Explains the B and B Inn".155-157)

"Ginger is a genius." "Ginger is a genius." "Ginger is a genius." Okay, okay. We get it. Ginger is a genius. Think Nadia might secretly be saying something else?

"Do you have a dog?" she asked.

"No, but…"

"Just answer the question. DO you have a dog?"

"No, but…"

"Just answer the question. Have you ever had a dog?"

"No, but…"

"Just answer the question. Have you ever had a dog?"


Nadia said, "I rest my case."

Noah would not give up. ("Julian Narrates When Ginger Played Annie's Sandy".16-25)

It's too bad that Noah and Nadia aren't the ones who are almost related, because they fight like brother and sister. Even when Nadia "rest[s] [her] case,'" Noah keeps at it.

"We can allow posh, but we do not find a reference for tip."

Julian said, "With all due respect, sir, I think you ought to check another source." (6.4-5)

Julian may be more polite than any sixth grader we've ever met, but he's also confident. He doesn't let respect for other people change his mind about whether he's right or something.

They beat grade seven, almost doubled their score. Fact: No sixth grade team had ever defeated a seventh grade team. They were scheduled to go up against grade eight. Further fact: No sixth grade had ever competed against the eighth because no sixth grade had ever gotten that far. (6.9)

The Souls are in new territory almost as soon as they start playing. Their victories are so surprising that the whole region ends up supporting them. (Does this sound a lot like Noah talking? Surprise: It's not. Check out the "Narrator Point of View" section to keep thinking about this quote.)

The week before the regionals, Mrs. Olinski arranged with Mrs. Laurencin to have the school opened on Saturday afternoon so they could have an extra drill. Her team had always been willing—even eager—to practice, so she was surprised and disappointed when they refused.

[…] "What happens on Saturday that is more important than an extra practice session?" she asked.

Noah answered, "We have tea. On Saturdays we all have tea." (8.3, 5-6)

Oh, and sure, they also practice. But Academic Bowl practice is secondary to tea-drinking—because it's the tea drinking that made them into a championship-winning team in the first place.

There was one question per card, just like hers, but these were written, not typed. The writing was calligraphic, the paper white, the ink as black as Hecate's soul. She examined the questions—they were good ones—and hardly noticed when the children had come out of the kitchen and taken places at the table on the side opposite her. (8.45)

The Souls even make flashcards with thoughtfulness and care. Who are these kids?

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