"This moving film will be riveting viewing for public library
audiences and will be a noteworthy short fiction selection for high school and college
film students." Booklist
"A striking view of the importance of family relationships in
the formation of a childs personality. Good motivation material for discussion on
human values and family relations." Landers Film Reviews
"An unstintingly intimate, autobiographical work
who ever gave much thought to their relationship with their parents should find it
intensely rewarding." Hollywood Reporter (Full review in
- How much time do you spend each day truly talking with your parent
or parents? (Do not count statements such as, "Pass the salt, please.")
- Do your parents know the real you? Write a one-paragraph answer to
- What childhood memory is the most vivid to you? Why do you think it
is so important?
Define each of the following terms: success, failure, fame, fortune, career, and
- In the eulogy, the minister says of Mr. Carter, "He was a good
man, an honest man, a simple man
a devoted husband and the proud father of a daughter
who has reached national fame as a television star." How do you feel as you hear
these words? What information do they give us about Mr. Carter? What is the emphasis? How
do they foreshadow events that occur?
- When asked, "What is it like to be famous?" Stephanie
answers, "You have to smile a lot when you dont feel like it." What is
ironic about that answer? What do you think it is like to be famous? Would you like to be
- Mrs. Carter says, "I always loved rainy days better than any
other time because Id have you all to myself." What kind of need does this
- What is important about the title of the film? Cite several ways the
title is developed in the film?
- One of the possessions Mr. Carter keeps is Stephanies tricycle
bell. Why do you think he has kept that? What is significant about her action of burying
the bell before she leaves for the airport? What childhood possessions of yours still
exist? Why are they kept?
- Mrs. Carters "game" of giving Steshy a playing card
for correct answers and then rewarding her when she collects all 52 cards is an
interesting method of teaching. How would you respond to this teaching tool? Would you
learn more if rewarded by your teacher or parents? What do you think of Mrs. Carters
method of injecting more difficult questions as a way of inspiring Steshy to learn?
- Mrs. Carter uses many adages with Steshy: "A quitter never wins
and a winner never quits." "Its the one who stays steadily at his job who
wins." "Never settle for second best." How do you feel about the philosophy
expressed in each adage?
- Mrs. Carter states, "There is no greater happiness than
excelling. That is happiness. Failure is not happiness, and unless you excel, you
fail." Do you agree? Is it all or nothing? Think of a time when you did not excel at
something, but you were happy doing it nonetheless. Think of a time when you did excel.
Which provided you with more happiness? Is there too much or too little emphasis placed on
- When Stephanie asks her mother why she didnt pursue a career
in one of the arts, Mrs. Carter responds, "It was a Depression, in a small town where
nobody reached out. And, besides, my daddy didnt think a girl should do anything but
get married and have a baby." How does this quote explain Mrs. Carters
behavior? Do you think her fathers attitude has any validity? Does that attitude
- Mrs. Carter is a strict disciplinarian. Cite examples of rules she
employs which you think are admirable. Cite examples of some of her rules that you feel
lack good sense. How does she compare to your parents? How does she compare to your model
of an ideal parent?
- Mrs. Carter says to Stephanie, "You were a very, very happy
child." Was she? What does this statement indicate about Mrs. Carters
awareness? Are most parents "blind" to their childrens inner feelings?
- The differences between Mr. and Mrs. Carter are exposed in a
conflict over Steshys coloring. Mrs. Carter states, "Now, darling, color in the
lines and keep your colors nicely in their box." "Cows are brown, darling, or
sometimes black and white." Mr. Carter feels differently when he states,
"Everybody gets out of the lines once in awhile. Thats okay. The important
thing is to have fun while doing the best you can." "Oh, cows are just about any
color you want. Remember the purple cow that jumped over the moon?" What central
conflict is exposed in this exchange? Which person do you side with?
- In another argument about Steshy, the following exchange occurs:
Mrs. Carter: You come home and undo everything Ive done. Do
you want her to be like you?
Mr. Carter: I might do a whole lot better if youd stop
criticizing me and comparing me to everybody else.
Mrs. Carter: All I ask is that you do your best, but you dont
even try. My child is the only thing that is the way she ought to be.
Mr. Carter: Shes the way you think she should be, but not
necessarily the way she ought to be.
Mrs. Carter: Shes going to be somebody.
Mr. Carter: If you keep on, shes going to spend the rest of
her life trying to please everybody but herself and thinking shes always got to make
Review the discussion. Is Mrs. Carter so wrong? Is Mr. Carter too
"soft" and uninspiring? Think about the adult Stephanie. Which parent
contributed more to her present state of being?
- Toward the end of the film, Mrs. Carter asks her daughter, "I
wasnt wrong to instill ideals in you, was I?" Stephanie does not answer. Answer
for her. Then answer the way you would.
- Can parents and their children be "friends"?
- What kind of relationship is in store for Mrs. Carter and her
daughter in the future?
- The film deals with expectations and fulfillment, expectations and
frustrations, expectations and failure. What are your expectations? For career? For
marriage? For life in general? Is it wiser, perhaps, to have fewer expectations and
therefore fewer frustrations, or do expectations bring about success?