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ESSAY TOPICS - BOOK REPORT IDEAS
1. Why do you think the author chose Carmen as the character to speak the Prologue and Epilogue?
2. Explain why the Pants became an integral part of their Sisterhood. Would they have still been friends at the end of the summer if the Pants had never been discovered?
3. Explain how Carmen’s father’s way of introducing his new family was right or wrong. How would doing it differently have made a difference in their relationship?
4. How would Tibby’s life have been different if she had not met Bailey?
5. Explain how Bridget loses some of her power after the intimacy with Eric. How does she get it back?
6. Explain how Lena’s beauty affects her relationships with others. How does she overcome this negative aspect of her life?
7. Are the Pants really a character? I so, how do they impact the girls? Explain how they might just be a manifestation of their own emotions.
8. If you were given the Pants, which of the ten rules would be the hardest for you to keep? Why?
9. What does Carmen mean when she says that she, Lena, Bridget, and Tibby are the real Septembers? What about their friendship convinces her that they won’t drift apart like their mothers?
10. Explain the revelation of each girl that has a lot to do with where they spend their summer. Why wouldn’t they have learned what they did if they had all stayed home?
COMMENT ON THE STUDY OF LITERATURE
The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis. There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author's life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author.
In this study guide, we have tried to give an objective literary analysis based upon the information actually found in the novel, book, or play. In the end, however, it is an individual interpretation, but one that we feel can be readily supported by the information that is presented in the guide. In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher may come up with a different interpretation of the mood or the theme or the conflict. Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained within the piece of literature, is just as correct as ours; so is the interpretation of your teacher or professor.
Literature is simply not a black or white situation; instead, there are many gray areas that are open to varying analyses. Your task is to come up with your own analysis that you can logically defend. Hopefully, these booknotes will help you to accomplish that goal.