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Eraser Tattoo Commonlit Answers

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  • 10th Grade

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
Which statement best describes the main theme of the passage?First love has a lasting effect on a person.
How does paragraph 10 contribute to the story?It establishes how important the house is to Shay’s family.
How does the knowledge that Shay is leaving affect Dante?It prompts Dante to give Shay the eraser tattoo she always wanted.
What is the significance of Shay’s words and actions in paragraph 78? “No doubt, homie,’ she replied, her whisper bookended by sniffles. Then she pinched him on the butt.”They show Shay admitting, for the first time, that she loves Dante.
What is the most likely meaning of paragraphs 82-83, as they apply to Dante and Shay’s relationship? He knew the sting wouldn’t last forever. / But the scar would.The pain of Shay’s absence will fade, but Dante will always remember her.

How does the author develop Dante and Shay’s relationship over the course of the passage?

The author, Jason Reynolds, develops Dante and Shay’s relationship in “Eraser Tattoo” through a series of interactions and reflections that reveal the depth and complexity of their bond. This development is achieved through the following key elements:

  1. Shared History and Comfort: The story begins with Shay and Dante engaging in a playful banter, highlighting their comfort and familiarity with each other. This ease in their interaction suggests a long-standing relationship built on a solid foundation of shared experiences and mutual affection.
  2. Support and Understanding: Throughout the passage, both characters show deep understanding and support for one another. For example, Dante respects Shay’s decision not to reciprocate the eraser tattoo, acknowledging her concerns about her father’s reaction and the possibility of infection. This understanding extends to their shared moments of vulnerability, such as when Shay expresses her concerns about the future of their relationship after her move.
  3. Emotional Intimacy: The emotional intimacy between Dante and Shay is palpable, especially in moments where they reminisce about their past or share tender gestures, like Shay kissing Dante or them reflecting on the first time Dante expressed his love for Shay. These moments reveal a deep emotional connection that transcends physical presence.
  4. The Eraser Tattoo as a Metaphor: The act of giving and receiving an eraser tattoo symbolizes their desire to leave a lasting mark on each other’s lives. It’s a physical manifestation of their emotional bond and a way to cope with the impending separation. The pain Dante endures while getting the tattoo from Shay is a testament to his commitment to their relationship, signifying that he values their connection above physical discomfort.
  5. Confronting Change Together: The narrative unfolds against the backdrop of Shay’s impending move, a significant change that challenges the dynamics of their relationship. Their interactions, filled with both playful teasing and serious conversations about the future, reflect their attempts to navigate this change together.
    The story culminates in a poignant goodbye, where the physical and emotional marks of their relationship—embodied by the eraser tattoo—highlight the depth of their bond and the challenges of transitioning into a new phase of life.

Through these elements, Reynolds skillfully portrays Dante and Shay’s relationship as one marked by love, understanding, and resilience.

The author develops their relationship by focusing on the ways they communicate, support each other, and confront change together, ultimately presenting a nuanced exploration of young love and the impact of life’s transitions on personal connections.

Discussion Answers

In “Eraser Tattoo,” Shay moves away from Dante. Has someone close to you ever moved away? How did you continue the relationship?

Maintaining a relationship after someone moves away requires effort, communication, and creativity. Here are several strategies people commonly use:

  1. Regular Communication: Technology plays a crucial role in bridging the distance. Regular phone calls, texts, emails, and video chats can help maintain the feeling of closeness. It’s not just about frequent communication but also about meaningful conversations that help both parties stay updated on each other’s lives.
  2. Social Media: Sharing updates, photos, and videos on social media platforms can help keep each other involved in daily activities and special moments, even from afar.
  3. Sending Letters or Packages: In an age dominated by digital communication, receiving a handwritten letter or a care package can feel particularly special and personal. It’s a tangible reminder of the relationship.
  4. Planning Visits: Whenever possible, planning visits to see each other can strengthen the bond and create new memories together. These visits can be something both parties look forward to and plan around.
  5. Shared Activities: Engaging in shared activities, even while apart, can also maintain a sense of connection. This could include watching the same movie or series while video-calling, playing online games together, or even reading and discussing the same book.
  6. Understanding and Patience: Recognizing that there will be adjustment periods and communication patterns may change is important. Being patient and understanding about each other’s schedules and commitments can help mitigate feelings of neglect or frustration.
  7. Setting Goals for the Future: Having a plan for when you’ll next see each other or setting long-term goals for the relationship can give both people something to look forward to and work towards.

Relationships can certainly withstand the challenges of distance, and in many cases, they may even grow stronger through the effort to stay connected.

The key is to remain intentional about maintaining the relationship and finding new ways to express care and affection despite the physical separation.


How would you describe Dante and Shay’s relationship? How did it develop over time? Do you think it’s strong enough to survive Shay’s move? Why or why not?

Dante and Shay’s relationship in “Eraser Tattoo” by Jason Reynolds is depicted as deeply rooted, affectionate, and resilient.

Their bond is characterized by a profound understanding and caring that seems to have been nurtured over many years of friendship and shared experiences.

Here’s a breakdown of the nature of their relationship and its development over time, along with an assessment of its potential to endure despite Shay’s move:

Description of Dante and Shay’s Relationship

  1. Deeply Connected: Their relationship is built on a solid foundation of history and mutual respect. They share intimate moments, jokes, and a level of comfort that suggests a long-standing and deep emotional connection.
  2. Supportive: Both characters show a great deal of support for each other. Shay is mindful of Dante’s feelings about her move, and Dante, despite his personal feelings about the separation, supports Shay’s transition.
  3. Open Communication: They communicate openly about their feelings, fears, and hopes for the future. This level of honesty is crucial for the strength and longevity of any relationship.
  4. Playful and Affectionate: Their interactions are filled with playful banter and affectionate gestures, indicating a strong emotional bond and mutual affection.

Development Over Time

Their relationship has evidently evolved from childhood friendship into a more complex and profound bond.

The shared memories, like Shay teaching Dante to tie his shoes, signify a transition from innocent childhood connections to more meaningful, supportive interactions in their teenage years.

This evolution is marked by deeper emotional exchanges, signifying a mature understanding of each other’s needs and vulnerabilities.

Potential to Survive Shay’s Move

Given the depth of their connection and the ways in which their relationship has been portrayed, there’s a strong indication that their bond could indeed survive Shay’s move. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Strong Foundation: Relationships that are built on a strong foundation of shared history and mutual respect are more likely to endure challenges, including physical separation.
  2. Effective Communication: Their ability to communicate openly about their feelings and concerns is a positive sign that they can navigate the challenges of a long-distance relationship.
  3. Mutual Care and Respect: Both Dante and Shay show a deep care for and understanding of each other. This mutual respect can help them overcome resentment or misunderstanding that distance can sometimes cause.
  4. Adaptability: The story shows their ability to adapt to new circumstances, a crucial trait for maintaining a relationship over distance and time.

However, maintaining their relationship will require effort, commitment, and creativity in finding new ways to stay connected and involved in each other’s lives.

If Dante and Shay can continue to prioritize their bond, communicate effectively, and make plans for the future, their relationship stands a good chance of not just surviving but also thriving despite the physical distance between them.


In “Eraser Tattoo,” Dante allows Shay to give him an eraser tattoo before she leaves. Do you think this was a good idea? Why or why not?

In “Eraser Tattoo,” the act of Shay giving Dante an eraser tattoo symbolizes much more than a simple physical mark; it represents a poignant moment of connection and a means of preserving their bond despite the impending physical separation.

Whether this was a good idea can be considered from multiple perspectives:

Positive Aspects

  1. Symbolic Gesture: The eraser tattoo serves as a tangible reminder of their relationship and the memories they’ve shared. It’s a symbol of their commitment to each other and a way to carry a part of their bond with them, despite the distance.
  2. Emotional Closure: This act allows both Dante and Shay to acknowledge the change that’s about to happen in a meaningful way. It’s a form of closure, helping them to emotionally prepare for the separation and express their feelings for each other.
  3. Strengthens Their Bond: The pain and permanence of the tattoo metaphorically reflect the depth of their relationship. It’s an intimate gesture that reinforces their connection, showing a willingness to endure discomfort for the sake of the other.

Negative Aspects

  1. Physical Harm: The process of creating an eraser tattoo involves rubbing the skin with an eraser until it breaks, which can be painful and potentially lead to skin damage or infection. This raises concerns about the wisdom of using physical harm as a way to symbolize emotional bonds.
  2. Emotional Impact: While the tattoo is meant to be a positive symbol, it could also serve as a constant reminder of the pain of separation. For some, this might make moving forward more challenging.
  3. Impermanence Misaligned with Intent: Despite the intention behind it, an eraser tattoo is not permanent. As the skin heals, the mark fades, which could metaphorically represent the fear of their connection fading over time.

The decision to give Dante an eraser tattoo before Shay leaves is deeply personal and symbolic, rooted in their unique relationship dynamics. From a narrative perspective, it’s a powerful and effective device that highlights the intensity and depth of their bond.

It underscores their willingness to endure pain for the sake of their connection and serves as a poignant reminder of their relationship.

However, in real-life contexts, it’s important to consider the potential physical and emotional ramifications of such actions.

The gesture’s symbolic value and emotional significance to Dante and Shay seem to outweigh the negative aspects within the scope of their story, illustrating the lengths to which they are willing to go to preserve their bond. In this light, for Dante and Shay, it could be seen as a good idea, deeply meaningful and appropriate for their situation.

Yet, it’s a reminder that expressions of affection and attempts to memorialize relationships can take many forms, not all of which involve physical alterations.

Other Commonlit Answers

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