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THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS STUDY GUIDE
“Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. “ - Anonymous
This chapter begins by focusing on Tibby. Mimi was Tibby’s guinea pig, a pet which has lived longer than most of these animals do. Tibby judged her happiness by Mimi who got to stay in her cage and drink and eat and never had to go to work. Tibby had to work, however, at Wallman’s Drugstore. The thought made her crush her work smock and look for someone to complain to. The only ones there were her little brother and little sister, ages two and one, and they made Wallman’s seem like a sanctuary.
Tibby rode her bike to work, and to make it easier to balance her possessions, she put on the smock and prayed that no one she knew would see her. Unfortunately, just as she arrived, who should call out to her but Tucker Rowe, the hottest junior at Westmoreland High School. She could only put her head down and hope he would think he was mistaken, and Tibby was not some loser girl in a Wallman’s smock. She wrote a letter to Bee (Bridget) enclosing a small piece of her smock, because she enjoyed maiming it and in part to show her how thick 2-ply polyester really is.
With the letter to Bee, the action focuses on her. She arrived at the soccer camp and discovered her cabin was typical for a summer camp. What made it different was the unbelievable beauty of the bay and the mountains. She changed into her bathing suit and went swimming, after introducing herself to her cabin mates. She went to dinner later, realizing that there were 84 serious athletes at the camp, and figured she would probably come to care about some of them eventually. Once it was time to go to bed, Bridget couldn’t stand the idea of being in Baja with a roof over her head. So, she picked up her sleeping bag and went outside to sleep under the stars. Two girls - Diana and Emily - followed her, and they, too, camped on the beach. Diana voiced the way they were all feeling - “It’s so obliterating . . . the feeling of insignificance. Your mind wanders out there and just keeps on going.”
The focus then shifts to Carmen. She was flying to see her father in South Carolina, imagining as the time passed what her father’s place would be like, and what they would do together. She hadn’t seen him since Christmas and ever since her parents had split up, he would come to Washington D. C., and they would hang out together near her home. Now she dreamed that he might ask her to live with him and be a part of his life.
She wrote Tibby a letter about how badly she felt that she was taking a trip that was so exciting and new, while Tibby was home in her same haunts. It foreshadows that her expectations won’t meet the reality she will face.
The chapter setup is unique in that the author uses the letters the girls write to each other as way to shift from one of them to the other. It is the beginning of how the four of them will cope without the others.
“Can You Make Yourself Love? Can You Make Yourself Be Loved?” - Lena Kaligaris
Lena arrived in Greece to a home painted blue with an egg-yolk-yellow door. She loved the color and how it seemed to burst around her. Her grandmother spoke accented English, but Bapi - her grandfather - said little, staying in the background and cooking. Lena felt badly about not speaking Greek, especially given that she had only spoken it when she first learned to talk. However, Grandma was so excited to see them that Lena soon forgot her awkwardness. Grandma gave Lena a bedroom that looked on the Caudron - the Caldera, the name of the water below Santorini, the volcano, - as well as on the beautiful little village of Oia.
The action shifts once more to Tibby who was meeting the assistant general manager of Wallman’s - Duncan Howe. He put Tibby to work unloading inventory while Brianna, the girl with a big chest and big hair, got to run the register. They also had to wear headsets so they could communicate with other employees. It irritated Tibby at first but when she thought of her summer project - making a movie she decided to call a “suckumentary” - she felt better (Duncan had just won himself a role!). She went back to the storeroom where a girl with unusually long fingernails showed her the display she had to set up. Unfortunately, even though the display had directions, they were almost incomprehensible. Furthermore, she had forgotten to turn on her headset and didn’t hear Duncan page her four times. When her shift was over, and she started through the doors, she set off the alarm. She had mistakenly taken the roll of scotch tape she had used to hold the display together. So at the end of her first day, she was given a warning that this would go into her file and the cost of the scotch tape would be deducted from her first paycheck.
The chapter ends with a letter from Lena to Carmen in which she told her all about how ordinary her grandparents were, and how they didn’t fit the image she had always had of them. She felt like she should love them right away, but wasn’t sure how to do that. She wondered how you make yourself love someone.
For both these girls, Tibby and Lena, unfamiliar places make them feel unsure of themselves. As a result, they make mistakes and pass judgment perhaps where they should not. The question now becomes how they will adjust to the unfamiliar and whether they will turn it into a positive.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version