How does Chester develop as a character throughout the story?
As The Cricket in Times Square moves along, Chester evolves from the timid, nervous cricket he was when he arrived in New York to someone who is confident and adaptable enough to face new challenges. He also develops a clearer sense of what makes him happy, and has the courage to pursue it. Even though he could help the Bellinis more if he stayed, he knows how important it is for him to do something for himself.
Why do you think Chester's music has such a profound effect on the people of New York City?
Just like any city, New York is loud, bustling, and busy all the time. Its residents are often so caught up in their own lives that they do not take the time to step back and enjoy the beauty around them. Listening to Chester's beautiful music gives them a chance to relax and appreciate life, as well as marvel at the talent that nature has given this creature.
Was Chester right to return home to Connecticut? Why or why not?
Even though it is true that Chester could have helped the Bellinis earn more money if he stayed, it was important that he value his own happiness. Chester has proved his kindness and concern for the welfare of others time and time again. By the end of the book, he did what he had wanted to do all along: help the Bellinis in some way, since they had been so kind to him. By making them and their newsstand famous, Chester has ensured that they will be financially secure for a long time to come. Now, though, he must do something for himself, and return to the place that makes him happy.
How did Chester's relationship with Tucker and Harry impact his time in New York?
This book sends a powerful message about the importance of friendship, and the primary reason Chester had such a remarkable experience in New York was because of the friends he made there. Without Tucker and Harry's support, assistance, and encouragement, it would have taken Chester a lot longer to get used to city life, and he would not have enjoyed himself as much. Tucker and Harry were there to guide him from the very beginning, when he was hopelessly lost and confused, and they were there until the very end, when they escorted him back to the train. They showed Chester, a cricket who had primarily lived a very lonely life, how wonderful true friendship can be.
How does Chester impact Mario's life and character?
Like owning any pet would, having Chester has given Mario a newfound sense of responsibility. Mario has matured over the course of the story, learning to recognize Chester's needs and shoulder the blame for the accidents that happen as a result of his presence. But Chester is not like other pets. Mario and Chester develop a strong friendship and a connection on a deep level, and by the end of Chester's two months they come to understand each other very well. Even though having Chester stay in New York would make Mario happiest, he learns to value Chester's happiness above his own, the mark of someone who has truly grown up.
In what way is the sound of a violin a recurring motif in this story?
From Chester's very first appearance in the book, the narrator compares his chirp to the sound of a bow across violin strings. But Chester is not the only character whose sound is compared to a violin. When Mario first hears Sai Fong's voice, he likens it to a plucked violin. This draws a connection between Chester and Sai Fong, who understands the significance of the cricket and can foresee the wonders that Chester will soon bring about.
In what way does Chester's dissatisfaction with fame make a wider statement about fame and celebrity in general?
After a week of playing concerts for the people of New York City, Chester Cricket realizes that fame isn't everything it's cracked up to be. Performing nonstop every day has taken the fun out of music for him, and he is no longer satisfied with his life in New York. This sends the message that fame often comes at the cost of true happiness, and it is definitely true for some of the celebrities we see in the media today.
Discuss Tucker Mouse's strengths and weaknesses and how he proves himself over the course of the story.
Tucker's primary weakness is his obsession with material goods, particularly money. He is reluctant to part with his wealth, claiming that he has worked hard for it. But his greatest strength is his loyalty to his friends, and he overcomes his weakness by giving part of his life savings to Chester so that he can bail himself and Mario out from punishment, proving that he is not stingy and that he cares deeply for Chester's well being.
What does the silver bell symbolize for Chester, and why does he decide to take it with him when he returns to Connecticut?
By the end of the story, the silver bell that Sai Fong gave to Mario and Chester as a gift comes to symbolize the life Chester has had in New York. It represents the friendships he has made, the adventures he has had, and the things he has accomplished. Even though Chester has decided to leave his New York life behind in favor of happiness in Connecticut, he wants to keep all of these memories close to him, so he chooses to take the bell with him to serve as a reminder of all the fun he had.
How do Mama Bellini's feelings about Chester evolve over the course of the book?
At first, Mama mistakenly lumps Chester in with the other pesky bugs that she has come to hate living in New York City. She is determined to see the bad in him, and does not believe the superstition that crickets bring good luck. Everything changes, though, when Chester chirps "Come Back to Sorrento" for her. She then realizes the power that Chester's music has to take her back to her cherished memories and sees the good in him. In the end, she is upset to see Chester go. She feels this way in part because she will miss the business Chester brought them, but also because she will miss the happiness that Chester's music brought them, too.