R. J. Palacio

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Wonder: August: Wake Me Up When September Ends Summary & Analysis

August struggles through most of September. He's never had to get up so early or do homework, and being at school is pretty awful. Kids stare all the time and avoid bumping into him in the hallways. Multiple times per day, he inevitably surprises some unsuspecting kid who hasn't seen him before. Other kids whisper about August as he walks by, and August tries not to imagine what they're saying. He doesn't believe they're trying to be mean; he recognizes that he's "weird-looking" and if, for example, a Wookie started going to school, he'd probably stare and talk with Summer and Jack about it. Regardless, kids gradually get used to August, and by the end of the month, everyone seems used to him.
By recognizing that the other kids at school probably aren't actively trying to be mean, August demonstrates a commendable capacity for humanizing his fellow students. This is an extremely mature perspective, which again shows that August is in an in-between place in his maturity given that he can hold this viewpoint while also requiring a great deal of parental comfort. The widespread reactions of other students suggest that acting this way towards August is the easy and accepted way to engage with him.
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