R. J. Palacio

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Wonder: August: The Cheese Touch Summary & Analysis

Before long, August picks up on the fact that nobody wants to touch him. He explains that in dance class, Ximena had a panic attack when the teacher tried to pair her up with August. Then, yesterday in science, August was conducting his experiment with seven other boys. All seven of the others were crowded on the other side of the lab table, but Tristan and Nino moved over to August's side when their teacher asked. All was fine until Tristan's mystery powder started to melt at the same time that August's did. They moved their powders off the hot plate at the same time, bumped hands, and Tristan dumped everyone's powders onto the floor in his hurry to wash his hands. August thinks it's like the Cheese Touch in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but he's the moldy cheese everyone refuses to go near.
By relating what's going on with his classmates to the Cheese Touch in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, August suggests that associating with him can completely ruin other kids’ social standing (in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, touching the old, moldy piece of cheese on the playground is a fast track to being socially ostracized). It's also telling that none of the teachers August mentions here do anything about the situation, which is clearly bullying. Although teachers have a great deal of power and responsibility, their ability to actually do anything about bullying rests on their ability to notice it and fully understand what's going on.
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