Wonder

Wonder

by

R. J. Palacio

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Wonder can help.
Summary
Analysis
Nobody speaks as Jack Will, Charlotte, and Julian lead August up to the third floor of the school. Julian shows him room 301, which is where they will have homeroom with Ms. Petosa. Julian and Charlotte argue over whether Ms. Petosa is nice, and then they head for the science labs. Julian just stands in the door and talks, but Jack Will insists that August go in and look around. As August passes Julian, Julian moves out of the way quickly. Julian points out stuff in the classroom, including the chalkboard and erasers. When Jack Will says that August surely knows what an eraser is, Julian indignantly says that August has never been to school before.
It's telling that Julian is already beginning to bully August after only knowing him for a few minutes. His condescending explanation of something as simple as the chalkboard and erasers is a ploy to make August feel dumb and show him that Julian thinks very little of him. However, it's also important to note that adults cannot possibly supervise these kids at all times; therefore, the only thing adults can do is set a good example and hope that the children will follow suit.
Themes
Status and Bullying Theme Icon
Parenting and Guidance Theme Icon
August is so nervous, he mostly stares at his shoes. He finally asks what homeroom is, and Charlotte explains that it's just a class where the teacher takes attendance. As Jack Will walks away, August asks if his name is Jack or Jack Will. Jack explains that Will is his last name, and he doesn't know why some people insist on using his first and last name. Charlotte leads them all to the performance space.
Though it's relatively benign, the fact that people insist on calling Jack by his full name even though he seems to not like it suggests that August won't be the only target of bullying at Beecher Prep. Refusing to call Jack what he wants to be called is a way for other kids to make him feel small and insignificant.
Themes
Status and Bullying Theme Icon