Leo Borlock, the novel’s narrator and the viewpoint through which we see the other characters, is an introverted, observant, curious, and intelligent eleventh grader at Mica Area High School. Leo, an insightful character, seems to partly acknowledge the absurdity of his high school’s conformist environment—he notes that, somewhat ironically, kids are popular because they are not special or remarkable—yet overall, Leo accepts the sameness of high school. He appreciates the fact that there are prescribed rules of behavior to follow, and that by conforming to these rules, he is guaranteed acceptance by the larger group. Even in his one unique action before Stargirl’s arrival—starting the school TV show Hot Seat with his friend Kevin—Leo maintains his role as observer and interpreter. While Kevin acts as the show’s on-air host, Leo stays behind the scenes as the producer/director.
Leo begins to change as his relationship with Stargirl develops. She takes him out into the desert, where she tells him to quiet his mind and body and really see and appreciate the natural world around him. She encourages him to read the local section of the paper and take an active interest in his own community. As a result, Leo’s naturally observant nature becomes even more expansive and fine-tuned; looking back as an adult, he says he became a set designer when Stargirl taught him to truly see.
However, another aspect of Leo’s character is his cowardice and his fear of being rejected by the group. This fear ultimately leads him to reject Stargirl, a decision he regrets for the rest of the life. Leo is not a perfect character; rather, he faces the very human struggle between standing up for what he believes in and being accepted by the group. And like all humans, Leo sometimes makes the wrong decision, and sees his mistake too late.
Susan "Stargirl" Caraway
Stargirl Caraway is undoubtedly the central focus of Stargirl, even though readers are never privy to her interior thoughts. Stargirl is the catalyst for all the changes that occur in the novel, within Leo, in the...
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