Discussion Topic

The sources of inspiration for Stargirl's acts of kindness


The sources of inspiration for Stargirl's acts of kindness are her innate sense of empathy and her desire to make others happy. She is motivated by a genuine concern for the well-being of others and often performs small, thoughtful gestures to brighten their day, reflecting her unique and compassionate personality.

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What two public sources inspire Stargirl's acts of kindness in chapter 21 of Stargirl?

In chapter 21, Leo presses Stargirl to tell him how she knows what is going on in people's lives. Stargirl reveals three different sources of information, and each of them could perhaps be considered a "public source of community information."

Stargirl reads the newspaper. She avoids the headlines and instead focuses on what she calls the "fillers"—hospital admissions, obituaries, birthday and wedding announcements, and the police reports. She says the editors use this type of material to fill up the paper so that there is no blank space, and most people just skip right over it. Yet Stargirl believes these represent the real stories of life.

She also searches the bulletin boards around town. She has counted forty-one in her daily adventures, and she looks for messages posted on the boards which indicate a need for her intervention. Sometimes someone posts about losing a dog. Other times, people are lonely and in need of a companion. Stargirl even analyzes the business cards posted on bulletin boards to determine whether a person might be in need of assistance.

Stargirl also casually mentions that she overhears community news at her hair salon. While this provides information and is part of the community structure, it is likely not given as a means of public information. Therefore, your question likely points to her use of the newspaper and bulletin boards as sources of information because they are more intentionally public.

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What three things inspire Stargirl's acts of kindness in Chapter 21 of Stargirl?

One thing that consistently motivates or inspires Stargirl's acts of kindness is her innate altruistic attitude and general love for other people. Stargirl is unique in that she loves everybody equally and unconditionally. She's quite amazing in this regard. I can't think of anybody else that would be able to take a slap from Hillari and then kiss her in return and walk away. With that said, chapter 21 has Stargirl telling Leo more specifically how she figures out which "random" person she should target for her random acts of kindness.

1. She reads the newspaper, and she pays special attention to things like death notices, birthday and wedding announcements, and so on.

What she read were the parts that most people ignored, the parts without headlines and pictures, the boondocks of the paper: the hospital admissions, the death notices, the birthday and wedding announcements, the police blotter, the coming events calendar.

2. Stargirl eavesdrops on conversations that occur in places like the hair salon.

There’s also the place where I get my hair cut. I always overhear good stuff there.

3. Stargirl gets information about people from bulletin boards that are posted all around town. She learns from these about people that have lost a pet or just opened a business.

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What three things inspire Stargirl's acts of kindness in Chapter 21 of Stargirl?

Stargirl uses information she gleans from the newspaper, particularly parts of the paper others generally don't read, posted notices, such as one would post if looking for work, and gossip she hear at the beauty shop.  She tries to figure out what the individuals in question might be going through, then determine what kind of card the person might like to receive.  She also drops random bits of money as they walk around, never a whole lot, but enough that she can enjoy imagining the pleasure a child might feel upon finding it. Contemporary connections or similarities one might be reminded of include the movie "Pay It Forward", which evoked the theme of randomly doing for others, and one might also be reminded of the late Larry Stewart, who became famous in the Kansas City area over the years as he would dress up in a Santa outfit and wander aimlessly around the poorest parts of the city handing out hundreds of thousands dollars. 

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