Shells By Cynthia Rylant


Micheal, a fourteen year old boy, whose parents died six months prior lives with his aunt Esther. He has fallen into a sad state and can only be happy with a pet. He goes to the pet store and chooses a hermit crab for only a couple of dollars. He then brings it home and the strangest thing happens.


The theme of the story is "Give people a chance and they might change."

Evidence 1

Micheal's aunt Esther was prejudice and a bigot in the beginning of the story, because she was always saying that white people like herself were superior to all other races. In the end of the story she became nice and open minded. An example of this is when she went to the pet shop with Micheal, she wanted her own crab. She then sees people for what they are and become friendly and nice to all people.

This connects to my theme in the sense that Aunt Esther hadn't been out in the real world for so long that she became prejudice and a bigot, but after Micheal took Esther outside to go see the world again, she realized how good the world was.

Evidence 2

Micheal was sad in the beginning of the story when he found out that his parents died six months prior. Getting his hermit crab helped him go through his sadness much quicker.

This connects to my theme in the sense that if you give Micheal chance to try different remedies, he might find a connection with an animal to help him find happiness.

Evidence 3

At first when Aunt Esther saw the crabs she disliked them. After she got to know them more closely she began to understand them and like them more and more.

This is connects to my theme in the sense that if you give Aunt Esther a chance to get to know things, she might change her point of view.


In the beginning of the story, Micheal a fourteen year old boy, who is grieving his deceased parents. His Aunt Esther, a prejudice person and a bigot. He then gets his hermit crab Sluggo, who has made Micheal happy. His Aunt begins to like the crabs and decides to get her own. She goes to get her own and sees how much the world has changed and changes her mind completly about the world and they both end up happy in the end.

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