Wonder

Wonder

by

R. J. Palacio

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“Our Town” Symbol Analysis

“Our Town” Symbol Icon

For their yearly musical, Via’s school chooses to put on a production of Our Town. For all the adolescent individuals involved, Our Town represents a major shift in their growing independence and coming of age. For August, it's the first time he truly feels like he's seeing an adult piece of theatre, not a children's show. For Via, it ends up being one of the few times in her life that her parents unequivocally celebrate her and her accomplishments. Playing the lead unexpectedly also allows her to feel adult and independent. In the case of Miranda, who was originally cast as the lead, the play presents a number of opportunities for her to "choose kind," as she advocates for the theatre director to choose anything but the play The Elephant Man (which she felt wouldn't go over well with the Pullman family) and then feigns illness to give Via the opportunity to perform. In all cases, the play represents a major moment of growth and development for the book’s characters.

“Our Town” Quotes in Wonder

The Wonder quotes below all refer to the symbol of “Our Town”. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Difficulty of Kindness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Knopf edition of Wonder published in 2012.
Justin: Bird Quotes

it's just been so nice being in a new school where nobody knows about him, you know? nobody's whispering about it behind my back […] but if he comes to the play, then everyone will talk about it, everyone will know […].

Related Characters: Via Pullman  (speaker), August Pullman, Justin
Related Symbols: “Our Town”
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:
August: My Cave Quotes

"Auggie!" Mom yelled. "That's not true!"

"Stop lying to me, Mom!" I shrieked. "Stop treating me like a baby! I'm not retarded! I know what's going on!"

Related Characters: August Pullman (speaker), Mom (speaker), Via Pullman 
Related Symbols: “Our Town”
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:

I don't even know how I got so mad. I wasn't really mad at the beginning of dinner. I wasn't even sad. But then all of a sudden it all kind of just exploded out of me. I knew Via didn't want me to go to her stupid play. And I knew why.

Related Characters: August Pullman (speaker), Via Pullman  , Mom
Related Symbols: “Our Town”
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
August: Understudy Quotes

"Daddy, can you please not call me Auggie Doggie anymore?" I whispered in Dad's ear.

Dad smiled and nodded and gave me a thumbs-up.

Related Characters: August Pullman (speaker), Dad
Related Symbols: “Our Town”
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:

I knew right then and there that I was going to like the play. It wasn't like other school plays I've been to, like The Wizard of Oz or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. No, this was grown-up seeming, and I felt smart sitting there watching it.

Related Characters: August Pullman (speaker), Via Pullman 
Related Symbols: “Our Town”
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:
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“Our Town” Symbol Timeline in Wonder

The timeline below shows where the symbol “Our Town” appears in Wonder. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Justin: OUR TOWN
The Difficulty of Kindness Theme Icon
Independence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Justin explains that at school, they're doing the play Our Town for the spring show. Via dared him to try out for the lead role and... (full context)
Justin: Bird
The Difficulty of Kindness Theme Icon
Independence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Parenting and Guidance Theme Icon
...sobs take over, Via manages to choke out that she hasn't told her parents about Our Town . She'd rather they don't come so that August doesn't come. Via says she's an... (full context)
August: Understudy
Independence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Parenting and Guidance Theme Icon
A few days later, Via brings home three tickets to Our Town . On opening night, August is nervous at how big Via's school is. He wishes... (full context)
Miranda: School
The Difficulty of Kindness Theme Icon
Status and Bullying Theme Icon
Parenting and Guidance Theme Icon
...they couldn't do it because of her little brother's deformed face. He finally switched to Our Town , and Miranda was surprised to land the leading role. (full context)
Miranda: Extraordinary, but No One There to See
The Difficulty of Kindness Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Parenting and Guidance Theme Icon
Neither of Miranda's parents can come to opening night of Our Town . Her boyfriend can't come either, and Miranda is upset that nobody will be there... (full context)