Surviving the Applewhites is a story about a teenager who has gone astray and is sent to a farm to find his way to a meaningful and productive life. Jake, the protagonist, smokes and (1) E.D Applewhite tells him in a very creative manner that he'd best not do that. Ironically, she declares that she is the only member of the Applewhite family that is not creative. Eventually the family dog takes a liking to Jake and follows everywhere he goes. In the meantime (2) Zedediah Applewhite greets Jake on his first day by telling him what the most important thing he'll learn at the farm is. Along the way, Jake has conversations about (3) joy and education and then (4) gets cast in the lead role of The Sound of Music. The play gives (5) Jeremy Bernstein occasion to voice an opinion on a director's responsibility in casting, which has applications for how Jake is learning to look at people and life, especially his own life, without pre-judgments. Corresponding quotes are below:
1. "You better not light that cigarette all 16 of our Acers is a smoke free environment."
2. "The most important thing you’re going to learn while you’re here is who you are and what you’re made of."
3. "Once you know [what gives you joy],
you will know what you want from an
4. "You cant cast Destiny. Gretel's a girl!"
5. "Color-blind casting is the right thing to do. Biology or not, your father’s morally bound to cast the best people regardless of color or ethnic background."
[Enotes has no Study Guides for Surviving the Applewhites but below is a link to A Teacher's Guide To Surviving the Applewhites written by Harper Collins Children's Books.]