Wonder

Wonder

by

R. J. Palacio

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Summary
Analysis
Jack explains that he saw August for the first time when he was six. He was with his babysitter, Veronica, and his baby brother, Jamie, eating ice cream. Jack turned, saw August, and was scared. In his surprise he said "uhhh," even though he knew it was mean. Veronica immediately got up and led Jack away, while Jamie stared from the stroller. Jack whispered and asked what was wrong with "that kid," and Veronica was so angry she wouldn't answer. She spat that leaving the way they did was very bad. Veronica explained that she made them leave because she didn't want Jamie to say anything rude. She told Jack that they don't have to try to be mean to hurt someone. Jack saw August around after that and always tried to remember what Veronica said.
Veronica's decision to remove Jack and Jamie from August's vicinity shows that it's not always a clear-cut decision to be kind or not—she wants to protect August from Jack and Jamie's poor reactions, but she had no way to reprimand the kids in the moment and salvage the situation. This begins to add some nuance to the idea of kindness, as Veronica clearly thinks that though she could've done better, she did the best she could. With this, the novel makes it very apparent that there's no one right way to be kind.
Themes
The Difficulty of Kindness Theme Icon
Status and Bullying Theme Icon
Parenting and Guidance Theme Icon
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