In his young adult novel of conformity and tolerance, Stargirl, author Jerry Spinelli’s protagonist and narrator, Leo Borlock, is infatuated with porcupines. More accurately, he is infatuated with porcupine neckties. As Leo explains in the novel’s opening passages, “When I was little, my uncle Pete had a necktie with a porcupine painted on it. I thought that necktie was just about the neatest thing in the world.” As Leo grows, and his family moves from Pennsylvania to Arizona, the young boy’s love of porcupine neckties remains a part of his life. In fact, so in love with porcupine neckties has Leo become that he starts a collection of them – a hobby or passion that assumes greater significance as the present-day narrator reflects on his relationship with Stargirl Caraway, a highly unconventional addition to his conservative Arizona high school’s student body who attracts considerably attention among her fellow students for her more liberal choices in clothing and interests.
(The entire section contains 578 words.)