The View from Saturday

by E. L. Konigsburg

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How did Mr. Singh disrupt Mrs. Olinski's relaxation in The View from Saturday?

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Mr. Singh destroys Mrs. Olinski's relaxed feeling at Sillington House by bringing up the subject of how she chose the members of the debating team.  Mrs. Olinski is unnerved because, although she had never spoken about the factors she considered to anyone, Mr. Singh seems to know all about what had been going on in her mind.

Mrs. Olinski experiences an as yet inexplicable sense of peace whenever she comes to Sillington House.  On her second visit, however, her tranquility is shattered when Mr. Singh comes over to sit with her and tells her that the Souls "were getting worried...because (she had been) on the verge of choosing another".  Mr. Singh is referring to Mrs. Olinski's choice for the fourth spot on the debating team.  She had already chosen Noah, Ethan, and Nadia, and had been considering adding Hamilton Knapp to the mix.

After Hamilton Knapp pulls his cruel stunt at the school play, Mrs. Olinski realizes that he would not be a good addition to the team because he is just plain mean.  Having experienced the kindness shared at Sillington House, Mrs. Olinski is finally able to pinpoint just what had made her hesitate before asking Hamilton Knapp to join.  Mrs. Olinski had not told anyone what had been going on in her mind, however, so, while she is totally in agreement that Julian Singh is the right choice to complete the team, it is a little disturbing to her that her decision-making process had apparently been so transparent to the Souls, and that Mr. Singh seems to have a better understanding of her concerns and motivations than she has herself (Chapter 8).

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