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Granny Torrelli Makes Soup: Summary & Characters

Instructor: Lauren Boivin

Lauren has taught English at the university level and has a master's degree in literature.

This lesson provides a summary of Granny Torrelli Makes Soup. Here we will learn about what happens in the story, who the main characters are, and what roles they play.

Zuppa and Problems

''That Bailey, I hate him today.'' This is how we are introduced to Bailey, one of the main characters in Sharron Creech's Granny Torrelli Makes Soup. Bailey, we learn, is blind--or nearly so. Rosie is his best friend who lives next door, and it is through her voice that we hear this story. At the beginning, the two friends have had a fight, and Rosie is fuming. Her grandmother, Granny Torrelli, comes to look after her one night when her parents are both working. Granny suggests they make soup (zuppa in Italian)--but cooking isn't all granny has in mind!

Inside-Looking

Granny Torrelli is the kind of person who can tell something is wrong just by looking at you, so she figures out something is bothering Rosie pretty quickly. ''You going to tell me what's making your eyes so inside-looking?'' she asks Rosie. Like most 12 year olds, Rosie doesn't just spill the beans right away. ''It's just that Bailey,'' she says instead. Without prying, Granny manages to get the whole story from Rosie while they make soup. Rosie and Bailey have had a fight. Rosie spent a year learning how to read Braille. She was thinking it would be an exciting surprise for Bailey, but instead Bailey was angry and told Rosie to get over herself. Rosie, hurt, storms out of his house and he slams the door behind her.

The Importance of Pardo

When Rosie is at first reluctant to talk much about her fight with Bailey, granny starts telling her about her friend, Pardo. Granny and Pardo were the best of friends as kids just like Rosie and Bailey. When Granny turned 16, she was given the opportunity to leave Italy with her uncle to start a new life in the United States. She was excited, but Pardo was sad and didn't want her to go. The two had an argument and Granny left in a huff. She went home and packed her suitcase. She did not talk to Pardo again before she left. She did not write to him and he did not write to her. Then, one day, she got a letter saying that Pardo had died in an accident. Granny cries as she tells Rosie this--she is still sad to this day that she allowed her stubbornness to prevent her from making up with her friend.

Zuppa to the Rescue

Just as making the soup helps Rosie to talk through her problems with Granny, the soup in the end helps Rosie and Bailey to mend their relationship. After hearing about Pardo and seeing how sad Granny is that they never repaired their friendship, Rosie decides they should bring some of the soup over to Bailey and his mother, Carmelita. When they do, Rosie runs up to Bailey to apologize to him, and he presents her with a simple message written in Braille: ''I'm sorry,'' it reads.

Without ever saying so out loud, Granny helps Rosie to understand that Bailey was a bit hurt by her learning Braille because it was the one thing he could do that she couldn't. It didn't really have anything to do with her, it was just him feeling self conscious about his own limitations. Granny's story teaches Rosie that ''a friend like Pardo does not come along every day.'' Rosie sees that her friendship with Bailey is more important than any argument they might have.

A Lesson Remembered

Just one week later, Rosie gets a chance to put this lesson about the importance of friendship to the test. A new girl moves into town. Her name is Janine. She is very friendly--especially to Bailey. Rosie is fraught with jealousy, and she struggles with different feelings. She calls herself an ''ice queen'' when she is feeling cold and defensive, and she calls herself a ''tiger'' when she feels angry like she wants to lash out. Granny, of course, sees all of these feelings at war inside Rosie as they make pasta together with Bailey.

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