Wonder

Wonder

by

R. J. Palacio

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Summary
Analysis
At school the next day, Summer tells Savanna that she had to leave the party because she ate bad Halloween candy, and also mentions that she has a crush on someone other than Julian. August is absent, but finally returns to school on Monday. Summer can tell that something is up, but he doesn't want to talk. She tries to engage him in conversation about their Egyptian Museum projects, but August seems disinterested.
Though removing herself from the uncomfortable situation was the right thing for Summer to do (and an underhanded way of standing up for August), it's telling that she doesn't feel comfortable calling Savanna out or telling her the truth about her dislike of Julian’s behavior as a bully. This shows that she's just as caught up in the social structure as anyone else, even if she wishes it weren't so.
Themes
The Difficulty of Kindness Theme Icon
Status and Bullying Theme Icon
Finally, August looks Summer in the eye and tells her that she doesn't have to be friends with him. He says that he knows Mr. Tushman talked to her and told her to be friends with him. Aghast and angry, Summer assures August that Mr. Tushman never talked to her. Summer admits that she would've stayed mad about August's accusation longer, but he tells her what Jack said on Halloween and swears her to secrecy.
August's leveling with Summer shows that he fully understands the social structure around him and recognizes how powerful that structure is. This implies that he's possibly aware that Jack said those mean things in order to curry favor with Julian.
Themes
Status and Bullying Theme Icon