The title phrase of Blume's book is repeated every time Margaret speaks to God privately, often reporting events of her day or asking for something she desperately wants. These words also illustrate Margaret's unique connection to God; even though she doesn't practice a religion, she still feels God's presence and, arguably, relies on God as much as someone who follows a formal religion would.
"My mother says Grandma is too much of an influence on me."
This is one of the first quotes that characterizes the doting, slightly overbearing Sylvia Simon. Sylvia certainly is a handful, and it is understandable that Margaret's parents would want to keep their daughter beyond Sylvia's extreme influence. At the same time, since Margaret's other grandparents do not talk to Margaret or her parents, Sylvia's presence in her life is often constructive and reassuring. It's clear that Margaret loves her grandmother very much, and the two share the kind of close familial bond that Margaret doesn't form with too many other people.
"Nancy says nobody in the sixth grade wears socks on the first day of school!"
This quotation, which is taken from a passing argument between Margaret and her mother, accurately displays the pressure Margaret feels to conform to her peers. Though this pressure is present for everyone her age, Margaret's status as the new girl in a new school accentuates it even more. Throughout her story, Margaret does many things that she wouldn't choose to do on her own, sometimes because she simply believes that everyone around her does the same and that it is necessary to fit in.
“I like long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain and things that are pink. I hate pimples, baked potatoes, when my mother's mad, and religious holidays.”
This quote, referenced on the jackets of some editions of the novel and offered directly in Chapter 4, comes from Margaret's response to the "About Me" assignment, which Mr. Benedict gives his sixth-grade students on their first day of school. These sentences characterize Margaret in two ways: first, as a typical adolescent girl, who likes long hair and pink things and hates pimples; second, as someone with a few deeper struggles in her young life, particularly where religion is concerned. Margaret is a complex and very real character, and we can learn a lot about her from these two simple sentences.
"Well, you're really growing up, Margaret. No more little girl."
Margaret's father says this to Margaret after she buys her first bra, but this quote sums up the coming-of-age theme of the entire novel. Margaret is bridging the sometimes awkward gap between being little girl and being a young woman, and her actions over the course of the story often serve to ease this strange transition in whatever ways possible. Blume chose to explore growing up and puberty precisely because these topics were relatively neglected by novelists during the early 1970s, even though all girls experience these important stages at some point.
"We must, we must, we must increase our bust!"
This is the chant that Nancy tells her fellow Pre-Teen Sensations to repeat, while performing stretching exercises, in order to grow their chests enough to fill out their bras and truly become women. These words are representative of Nancy's self-proclaimed vast knowledge of what it means to go through puberty and grow up; Nancy always appears to be so sure of herself. At moments, however, Nancy's confidence seems to crack, particularly when Margaret finds out that Nancy was lying about having her period.
“It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome.”
This quote, part of Margaret's speech to God just before the class square dance, represents the attitude that Margaret and her friends have toward boys. They believe that certain boys are made to be liked simply on account of good looks; even though Philip Leroy (the "handsome" boy of the quotation) can be an immature jerk, Margaret and her friends still all keep him as the top boy in their Boy Books. And Margaret is determined to be Philip's partner at the square dance. For girls of this age, there is a lot of pressure to start having crushes, but in many ways the girls are too young to understand what such attachments really mean.
"As long as she loves me and I love her, what difference does religion make?"
At the time of this quote, Margaret has experienced religious pressure not only from her maternal grandparents, but also from Sylvia. Even the efforts of her most beloved grandparent frustrate and upset Margaret. In Margaret's eyes, religion shouldn't matter. It shouldn't affect her relationship with her family and the people who love her, and by this point in the novel, Margaret is coming to realize that she shouldn't be forced to choose Judaism or Christianity in order to determine her identity.
"You always believe everything you hear about other people?"
Though he is an unlikely source of wisdom, Moose reminds Margaret of a very important lesson for an adolescent: you shouldn't always believe what you hear. Rumors can be vicious, and Margaret learns this the hard way when she takes her anger out on Laura Danker. It is wrong to judge a person based on what others say about him or her; as in the case of Laura, false rumors can be started out of hatred, jealousy, or even just a feeling of difference.
"Thank you, God. Thanks an awful lot."
As is true of many quotations that end famous novels, these last words sum up the story of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret in a poignant and powerful way. For the few weeks leading up to this point, Margaret has been rejecting God despite the bond she once felt with him, believing that he is allowing bad things into her life. Now, though, she realizes that if she's patient, good things will happen to her—it just takes time for these things to come. With this in mind, Margaret rekindles her personal relationship with God and continues to talk to him, presumably well beyond the ending of the novel.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I suppose Margret would have to contend with the usual comming of age issues, emotionally and pysically, that most girls go through. This, of course, will be mixed in with her new ideas of God and faith.