In Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl, how does Leo's perspective of little things in life change from the beginning to the end of the book?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning, Leo is just as asleep as the rest of the school and community. No one does anything different from one day to the next just like no student is unique from another. Stargirl brings originality and spice to the kids at Mica Area High School whether they are ready or not. Leo is symbolic of the others in his high school who robotically go about their days doing what they are told and following the normal social rules of teenagers. For example, kids sit with their "own kind" and don't cross any clique's boundaries. Once Stargirl does this, the student body, and Leo, start to notice. One might say that Leo never noticed anything other than his own little world before he met Stargirl. 

For example, the town and the student body never attended the school's football games. Once there was a starring attraction, something big and out of the ordinary, people started to attend and to participate. 

"For the next home game more than a thousand people showed up. . . There was a line at the ticket window. The refreshment stand ran out of hot dogs. A second policeman was called in [and]. . . the cheerleaders were in their glory" (24).

Hence, Leo is not the only one who wakes up and starts taking notice of the community around him. It's easy to notice the big events, though. Eventually Leo dates Stargirl and she teaches him to notice the little things as well. She teaches him that she reads the fillers in the newspapers and learns about people by observing them; thus, she gives gifts to people because she cares. By the end of the book Leo gives her the credit for him noticing the little things in life, as follows:

"I read the newspapers. I read them from all over. I skip the front pages and the headlines and go to the pages in the back. I read the community sections and the fillers. I see the little acts of kindness happening from Maine to California. . . When I read about things like these I wonder, Is she there?" (185-186).

Read the study guide:
Stargirl

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