Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Chapters 1

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Chapters 1-6
At this point, how do you feel about Mark Brittain? What assumptions can you make about him?
What are a couple of teen-issues that have already been mentioned in chapters 1-5?
How do you feel about Moby, Eric Calhoune? How does the author make him likable?
What do you think happened to Sarah Byrnes? What clues has the author given us to make that
How would you describe Mr. Mautz, the middle school principal? Do you think that some
administrators really “hate” certain kids and try to pit two sides against the other? How do you
feel about what Mautz did?
Chris Crutcher, the author, uses the flashback technique in this book quite often. What affect
does that have on the novel? What does he accomplish by doing this?
Why might Sarah Byrnes be catatonic? What could have “set her off?”
If Eric was Sarah’s best friend, why did she tell Dale Thorton (the bully and trashiest person) her
real secret? Why couldn’t she tell Eric?
Eric felt that Sarah wouldn’t be his friend if he wasn’t fat. She responded, “You’re such a
lamebrain. It isn’t me who will go away, it’s you. People will just look at you differently than
they do now. Other people will like you, and you’ll go to them. It’s not a big deal, Eric. It’s just
the way things work.” Do you agree with Sarah’s response? Why or why not? Also, what does
Eric’s attempt at staying fat prove about him and his friendship with Sarah Byrnes?
The below are quotes from the novel that help to shape the theme and develop deeper understanding
of the characters and issues discussed in the novel. For each quote you will explain what the quote
says about the character/issue (significance), how it connects to present day/personal issues, and
what deeper meanings it has to uncovering the theme.
10. “It’s a little scary because, though I have good friends here, I also have mortal enemies, and you
don’t want your enemies to know what you think. Or feel.”
11. “I’d go away too, because the world doesn’t provide any safe place for her. Every day when she
gets up, she knows she has to bring her scarred-up face to school, knowing what everyone
thinks and won’t say. There’s no place to hide and it never lets up. I’d call that a bad place to
12. “Every time you let somebody take your stuff, or let them see you hurt, you get killed.”
13. “You learned a good lesson about pain,” she said back. When you can’t take it anymore, your
body stops feeling for you. That was just your body being your friend.”
14. “You need to remember what’s going on with her right now isn’t about you. You were right,
Mobe. We forget she has to get up every day and face herself. This could be her way of taking a
15. “Sometimes I wish I could have religion their way. You know, no responsibilities in life but to cut
down people who don’t think the way you do.”
16. “This way, the more times you outsmart him, the smarter you get--you know. Like a forest
animal. Pretty soon you’ll be so good nobody will ever get you. You have to always think about
survival. Eric. Trust me.”
17. “In truth, the only reason I don’t allow people up close and personal with my emotional self is
that I hate to be embarrassed. I can’t afford it.”
18. “I think most of us tell ourselves we don’t want what we can’t have just to make life bearable.”
19. “Don’t you get it that words are the only way that people like us can fight back?”
20. “It’s nearly impossible for me to admit to people, be they friend or foe, what is important to me.
A counselor friend’s of Mom’s once said that’s merely a function of adolescence—that
teenagers are into separating from our parents and others in authority in order to establish our
independence. To do that effectively we have to believe ourselves as immortal and are
therefore incapable of facing our emotional truths.”
21. “There’s something about shared pain that keeps you goinig when you might back off on your
Our concept this year is about beliefs. I want you to look at Steve Ellerby’s belief about God. Then,
step back and truly reflect on how you understand God and His relationship with you. Seek guidance
from your parents and pastor/teacher, etc. Gather your thoughts and write a statement of your belief.
Be sure to include facts that support this belief. This should be no longer than a page in length.
“My point is God created a prototype for a reasonably sturdy carbon unit, gave us a perfectly usable
place to live, some excellent advice, as in words to live by—most of which are misunderstood by the
least of my brethren—and stood back to see what we’d do with it.”
Chapter 1 allusions
“The Far Side”
“Tweech his own”
Moby Dick
Raymond Burr
Arnold Schwarzenegger
William Conrad
Wicked Witch of the West + water
Bill of Rights
Fifth Amendment
Gettysburg Address
Adam and Eve
Chapter 2 allusions
Halloween Sarah’s dad was too mean for the role
Bill Cosby
Rocky Balboa
National Enquirer
Ch 4 Allusions
Sherlock Holmes and Watson
Chuck Norris
WWII-Germany, Japan, Italy
WWII-USA, Russia, England
Mommy Dearest
CH 5 Allusions
General Eisenhower
Titanic and “save the Women and children first!”
Harley Davidson
Mr. Rogers
Richard Nixon + Watergate
Jacob’s ladder
“From a Distance”
Nancy Griffith
“If thine enemy offend thee. . . “
Reverend Swaggert
WWII + Switzerland
Ch 6 Allusions
Lorna Doones
AAU swim team
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not”
Chapter 3 allusions
“The Old Rugged Cross”
“The wages of sin is . . .”
“A mighty fortress is . . .”
Oral Roberts takes aspirin
Rodney Dangerfield
Berlin Wall
Byrds, Turtles
Dave Clark Five
Rolling Stones
Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly
Walker Dupree in Stotan
Mahalia Jackson
John the Baptist
God Squadder
Alex Haley + Kunta Kinte