In Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl , Archie is an old professor who helps Leo make sense of his relationship with Stargirl. In chapter 7, when Leo and Kevin first ask him about the new girl at school, Archie provides positive and open-minded information about Stargirl. The boys think he speaks...
In Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl, Archie is an old professor who helps Leo make sense of his relationship with Stargirl. In chapter 7, when Leo and Kevin first ask him about the new girl at school, Archie provides positive and open-minded information about Stargirl. The boys think he speaks in riddles, but like a good teacher, Archie wants them to make their own choices based on factual information and kind-heartedness. For example, when Kevin suggests that Stargirl is an alien, Archie replies by suggesting that she is more human that most as in the following passages:
"On the contrary, she is one of us. Most decidedly. She is us more than we are us. She is, I think, who we really are" (32).
"You'll know her more by your questions than by her answers. Keep looking at her long enough. One day you might see someone you know" (35).
Archie does not want the boys to stay away from Stargirl. He wants them to analyze the questions they have about her in order to get to know and understand her better. Later, when Leo falls in love with Stargirl, he is faced with making another choice about her. The whole school turns on Stargirl after she cheers for another school's team; as a result, they shun her and Leo.
Leo goes to Archie for help because he doesn't want to be treated like a leper by his classmates, but he loves Stargirl. To help Leo come to a decision about how to handle this situation, Archie suggests they consult his cactus, Senor Saguaro. A poignant question to help Leo make his decision in chapter 17 is revealed as follows:
"As Archie spoke, he looked up toward the elf owl hole. Now he turned back to me and whispered, 'I asked for questions' . . . 'Questions?' I whispered. 'What about answers?'
"But he was turning from me, tilting his head toward the great cactus, his finger on his lips--'Shh'--his eyes closed. . . 'The esteemed Senor says there is only one question. . . 'Whose affection do you value more, hers or the others'?" (104).
Archie teaches Leo to make his own choices through inquiry. As a professor, he knows that asking questions is a good way to discover answers. Therefore, Archie helps Leo to realize that the answer to his dilemma--choosing between friends at school and his relationship with Stargirl--is found in the answer that comes from his heart. Archie probably hopes that Leo will choose Stargirl over the conformist attitude of his schoolmates because that would mean that Leo does not care what others think about whom he loves. However, Leo decides conformity with the majority rather than to stand as an individual for the girl he loves. For Leo, she is too different from what he wants in his life to choose her over his schoolmates.