Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe

Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe

Author Benjamin Alire Saenz Duration: 7:29:10 Narrator Lin-Manuel Miranda Publisher Simon & Schuster
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Synopsis

A Reading Group Guide to

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

About the Book

When Aristotle, a loner, meets Dante at the swimming pool, the two strike up an unparalleled relationship. Dante is everything Aristotle wishes he were: articulate, smart, and self-confident. Together they begin questioning the secrets of the universe and navigating the painful journey from adolescence into adulthood. Sharing books, dreams, a near-fatal accident, and a year apart, the two discover the power of their friendship and develop an inseparable bond.

Prereading Questions

1. Do people always have to understand the people they love? Why or why not?

2. What characteristics are most admirable in a close friend?

Questions for Discussion

1. Aristotle (Ari) Mendoza is one of four children. His two older sisters and his older brother no longer live at home. Describe his relationship with his siblings. Why does he feel like the family mascot?

2. How does Ari meet Dante? Compare and contrast their personalities.

3. Why do Ari and Dante become friends? What personality traits does Ari most admire in Dante and why?

4. Does Ari have a close relationship with his parents? How does his relationship with his mother differ from his relationship with his father?

5. Where is Ari’s older brother Bernardo, and how is the family impacted by Bernardo’s absence?

6. Why is Ari’s father distant and how does he manage to deal with his emotional state? How does his wife justify his emotional distance?

7. How does Ari save Dante’s life and at what personal cost? Why does Ari feel angry after the accident? How does Ari’s relationship with his parents change after the accident?

8. Tragedy sometimes sets the stage for families to discuss topics that are long overdue. In what way does the accident help Ari better understand his parents? How does it help his parents come to know him better?

9. Why does Ari feel angry after the accident? By what rules does he insist that he and Dante play in regards to the accident? Why does he insist on these rules?

10. Dante is an artist and shares his sketchbook with Ari shortly after the accident. Why does Ari not look at the drawings? Why does he eventually do so?

11. Why do Ari’s parents buy him a pickup? Would they have done so prior to the accident? Why or why not?

12. How does Ari feel about Dante’s family moving to Chicago for one school year? How do the two stay connected during this time?

13. During their year apart, how do both Ari and Dante grow? Explain.

14. Who are Gina Naverro and Susie Byrd? How does Ari develop a friendship with them?

15. Ari becomes obsessed with kissing a classmate named Ileana. What role does Ileana play in the story? Is Ari in love with her?

16. Ari’s and Dante’s parents become good friends. Are they good parents? Support your response with evidence from the text.

17. In what way is a sparrow a symbol in the story?

18. Is Ari a responsible teen? Support your response with examples.

19. Ari is curious about his brother; however, he refuses to open an envelope that contains information about his brother that he finds tucked away in a drawer. Why does he not open the folder?

20. Ari’s mother leaves for a few days to care for an ailing aunt. How does his aunt’s death impact Ari’s parents? What does Ari learn about her, and his own family, after her death? How does this information impact him?

21. When Dante is beaten up for kissing a boy, Ari seeks revenge on Dante’s tormenters. Why does his revenge scare his parents? Is their fear justified? Why or why not?

22. How does Ari resolve his feelings for Dante? How does he resolve his feelings about his own self worth?

Questions for Further Discussion

1. In the beginning of the story, Ari doesn’t understand his father. He describes him as a “mystery.” As Ari matures he says, “I came to understand that my father was a careful man.” Explain Ari’s acceptance and understanding of his father.

2. Dante is a well-developed, unique character. What characteristics and behaviors does the author give Dante that contribute to this uniqueness?

3. Both Ari and Dante have distinctive voices. How does the author use dialogue to develop character voice? Cite examples.

4. At Dante’s suggestion, Ari reads Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and agrees with Conrad that the world is a dark place. Why does Ari have this viewpoint? Does this belief alter by story’s end?

5. The author uses a storm as a metaphor for pain. He writes, “Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer morning could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.” How is this a fitting metaphor for Ari’s life? For his father’s?

6. Both Ari and his father have dreams in the story. Describe their dreams. What do the dreams mean to each of them?

7. Ari is depicted throughout the story as being lonely. What factors account for his loneliness and confusion? What role do his parents play in helping him accept his identity?

8. The novel is written from Ari’s point of view. How might the story be different were it written from Dante’s perspective?

9. Both Ari and Dante are intelligent teens. How does the author use vocabulary to convey this characteristic? Cite examples.

10. Ari feels self-contempt in the beginning of the story. What accounts for this feeling and how does it change as the story progresses?


Guide written by Pam B. Cole, Professor of English Education & Literacy Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA

This guide, written to align with the Common Core State Standards (www.corestandards.org) has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

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Chapters

  • AristotleAndDante 001 Title

    Duration: 28s

  • AristotleAndDante 002 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer1

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 003 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer2

    Duration: 06min

  • AristotleAndDante 004 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer3

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 005 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer4

    Duration: 15min

  • AristotleAndDante 006 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer5

    Duration: 11min

  • AristotleAndDante 007 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer6

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 008 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer7

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 009 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer8

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 010 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer9

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 011 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer10

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 012 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer11

    Duration: 08min

  • AristotleAndDante 013 TheDifferentRulesOfSummer12

    Duration: 09min

  • AristotleAndDante 014 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky1

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 015 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky2

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 016 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky3

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 017 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky4

    Duration: 06min

  • AristotleAndDante 018 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky5

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 019 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky6

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 020 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky7

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 021 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky8

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 022 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky9

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 023 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky10

    Duration: 08min

  • AristotleAndDante 024 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky11

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 025 SparrowsFallingFromTheSky12

    Duration: 08min

  • AristotleAndDante 026 TheEndOfSummer1

    Duration: 11min

  • AristotleAndDante 027 TheEndOfSummer2

    Duration: 15min

  • AristotleAndDante 028 TheEndOfSummer3

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 029 TheEndOfSummer4

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 030 TheEndOfSummer5

    Duration: 06min

  • AristotleAndDante 031 TheEndOfSummer6

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 032 TheEndOfSummer7

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 033 TheEndOfSummer8

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 034 TheEndOfSummer9

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 035 TheEndOfSummer10

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 036 TheEndOfSummer11

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 037 LettersOnAPage1

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 038 LettersOnAPage2

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 039 LettersOnAPage3

    Duration: 36s

  • AristotleAndDante 040 LettersOnAPage4

    Duration: 52s

  • AristotleAndDante 041 LettersOnAPage5

    Duration: 36s

  • AristotleAndDante 042 LettersOnAPage6

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 043 LettersOnAPage7

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 044 LettersOnAPage8

    Duration: 06min

  • AristotleAndDante 045 LettersOnAPage9

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 046 LettersOnAPage10

    Duration: 20s

  • AristotleAndDante 047 LettersOnAPage11

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 048 LettersOnAPage12

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 049 LettersOnAPage13

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 050 LettersOnAPage14

    Duration: 41s

  • AristotleAndDante 051 LettersOnAPage15

    Duration: 42s

  • AristotleAndDante 052 LettersOnAPage16

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 053 LettersOnAPage17

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 054 LettersOnAPage18

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 055 LettersOnAPage19

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 056 LettersOnAPage20

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 057 LettersOnAPage21

    Duration: 38s

  • AristotleAndDante 058 LettersOnAPage22

    Duration: 08min

  • AristotleAndDante 059 LettersOnAPage23

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 060 LettersOnAPage24

    Duration: 42s

  • AristotleAndDante 061 LettersOnAPage25

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 062 LettersOnAPage26

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 063 LettersOnAPage27

    Duration: 47s

  • AristotleAndDante 064 LettersOnAPage28

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 065 LettersOnAPage29

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 066 LettersOnAPage30

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 067 LettersOnAPage31

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 068 RememberTheRain1

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 069 RememberTheRain2

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 070 RememberTheRain3

    Duration: 06min

  • AristotleAndDante 071 RememberTheRain4

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 072 RememberTheRain5

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 073 RememberTheRain6

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 074 RememberTheRain7

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 075 RememberTheRain8

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 076 RememberTheRain9

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 077 RememberTheRain10

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 078 RememberTheRain11

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 079 RememberTheRain12

    Duration: 06min

  • AristotleAndDante 080 RememberTheRain13

    Duration: 46s

  • AristotleAndDante 081 RememberTheRain14

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 082 RememberTheRain15

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 083 RememberTheRain16

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 084 RememberTheRain17

    Duration: 36s

  • AristotleAndDante 085 RememberTheRain18

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 086 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse1

    Duration: 06min

  • AristotleAndDante 087 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse2

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 088 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse3

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 089 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse4

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 090 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse5

    Duration: 04min

  • AristotleAndDante 091 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse6

    Duration: 06min

  • AristotleAndDante 092 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse7

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 093 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse8

    Duration: 31s

  • AristotleAndDante 094 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse9

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 095 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse10

    Duration: 57s

  • AristotleAndDante 096 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse11

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 097 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse12

    Duration: 37s

  • AristotleAndDante 098 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse13

    Duration: 07min

  • AristotleAndDante 099 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse14

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 100 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse15

    Duration: 25s

  • AristotleAndDante 101 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse16

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 102 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse17

    Duration: 02min

  • AristotleAndDante 103 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse18

    Duration: 13min

  • AristotleAndDante 104 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse19

    Duration: 01min

  • AristotleAndDante 105 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse20

    Duration: 03min

  • AristotleAndDante 106 AllTheSecretsOfTheUniverse21

    Duration: 05min

  • AristotleAndDante 107 Credits

    Duration: 58s