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by Newcastle61
Last updated 6 years ago

Language Arts
Reading Comprehension

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We have all been told at least once in our lives that every human being is different and unique, with different personalities and different appearances. For some, being different can be a major problem, as they can be judged and bullied because of it. The Wider World And Me is about discovering similarities between others and ourselves. It also has to do with the world around us, understanding the experiences of others, exploring different worlds and determining our place in this one. Wonder, by R. J. Palacio, tells a story of a boy named August born with a terrible facial abnormality. Unfortunately, his differences hold him back and stop him from achieving the best out of life. The novel highlights the bravery needed to overcome these differences and how a simple act of kindness can go a long way. It also portrays the importance of family, who love each other unconditionally and are always there for each other in times of need

To be brave, one must show courageous behaviour and face their fears, no matter how frightening the situation might be. Throughout Wonder, R. J. Palacio highlights the bravery of August and everyone around him. It takes extraordinary amounts of courage to step out of your comfort zone and explore the world around you in order to determine your place in it. August does just that when his parents decide to send him to school. At first he is scared and doesn't want to go, afraid of having to walk amongst kids his own age without the protection of his parents. Palacio uses the simile, "like a lamb sent to the slaughter" to highlight just how threatening the idea of going to school is for August and his family. They know how mean people, especially children, can be. Despite this, August finds his courage and goes to school in order to receive a better education. August's second great act of bravery is when he cuts off the braid in his hair. "That night I cut off my little braid on the back of my head. Dad noticed first." August's braid is a symbol of his childhood obsession with Star Wars. By cutting off his braid, August is leaving his childhood behind and starting a new chapter in his life, something that would take a lot of bravery as Via says, "that braid took him years to grow". August's greatest wish in life is to be seen like everyone else, and to be judged on his actions instead of his appearance. The metaphor, "our deeds are our monuments," said by August's English teachers, portrays this wish. August doesn't want to be defined by his face, but by his personality, most specifically his courage. In order for him to succeed in this, he must be extremely brave and not let others discourage him. R. J. Palacio highlights bravery throughout the novel using simile, symbol and metaphor in order to teach the audience about the struggles in some people's lives. Wonder also sends a message about how brave these individuals must be in order to do things that we ourselves find simple, and causes us to realise how lucky we really are. Similarly, R. J. Palacio also portrays the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate throughout the text. In order to develop an understanding of the experiences of others and discovering similarities between other people, one must have the capacity to be kind. As said by August's teacher, "when given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind". Sometimes the best thing for someone to do is to show just a little bit of friendship. August's wish to be seen as ordinary can also be symbolised by his love of wearing masks. "I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks." For August, Halloween is the one day that he can be like everyone else, where he isn't judged or treated differently. When August first arrives at school, he is made fun of because of his appearance. Despite this, two of his classmates, Summer and Jack, show him kindness when know one else will. Because of it, they developed an understanding for the experiences of others, and in the end even found friendship when they otherwise wouldn't have. They also learnt about how their actions have consequences, specifically Jack who accidentally insulted August when trying to impress some other boys. "But that was him, that Bleeding Scream sitting at the desk looking at us. The long white mask squirting blood. The mouth open wide. Like the ghoul was crying." The simile, "like the ghoul was crying" portrays the way August was feeling when Jack said those hurtful things about him, like he was the Bleeding Scream with the "long white mask squirting blood." Despite the schools negative attitude towards August when he first began school, by the end of the year his classmates learn that he's actually a nice person, and that he is just a kid like them. "They were surrounding me as we walked through the crowd of kids. Like I had my own emperor's guard." At long last, August feels excepted and like everyone else, just because his classmates decided to show him kindness. He feels protected and one of the group, "like he had his own emperor's guard." Kindness is portrayed throughout Wonder by both symbol and simile. R. J. Palacio sends a message to his audience about how everyday kindness can mean a lot to a person, and how it can not just effect others, but yourself. It also teaches those about how your actions have consequences and the importance of personality over appearance, Throughout Wonder, August's family play an essential role in helping him through the ups and downs of life. The dictionary's definition of family is, "a group consisting of two parents and their children acting as a unit." However, we know that the meaning of family goes much deeper then this, as R. J. Palacio highlights through the novel. A person's family are usually very important to them, and are a big part of their world, a concept that links back to The Wider World And Me. They provide support and help one venture into other worlds to broaden their understanding. August's family does just this, loving each other unconditionally and giving help whenever needed. August's sister, Via, describes their family using the metaphor, "August is the sun. Me and Mum and Dad are planets orbiting the sun." Even though it may seem like a bad thing that August is the centre of attention in the family and that Via is seems almost neglected, it can also be seen as something good. August's comparison to the sun can also suggest that he's the main source of light in their lives. August's family are very important to him as they love him despite his facial abnormality. This can be seen by the simile used by Via when discussing their pet dog Daisy. "To Daisy, all our faces look alike, as flat and pale as the moon." This simile is another example of August's wish to be seen as ordinary, something that only a dog is really able to do. August's family know that he is not ordinary and they can see that he is not like everyone else, yet they still love him non the less. However, even though August's family all love each other very much, they still go through times of hardship, as Via says later on, "but this year there seems to be a shift in the cosmos. The galaxy is changing. Planets are falling out of alignment." Because of the changes both children are going through, with August starting school and Via going off to high school, the way their family runs has been altered, putting their love to the test. Throughout Wonder, R. J. Palacio portrays family using metaphor and simile. By seeing the characters with an ordinary family, readers are able to relate more to them as they appear more like themselves. It also sends a strong message about unconditional love, support and sticking together to get through the struggles found through out life.

For some people, being different is one of their greatest fears, as they may be judged or made fun of because of it. Discovering similarities between ourselves and others is part of The Wider World And Me. Wonder, by R. J. Palacio, tells a story of a young boy named August born with a terrible facial abnormality trying to find his place in the world but is held back by his differences and struggles to get the best out of life. The novel illustrates the bravery needed to overcome these differences by using simile, symbol and metaphor. By using these, the audience becomes aware of the struggle in some people's lives and how lucky we really are. Kindness is also portrayed throughout the novel by both symbol and simile, sending a message about the effects of everyday kindness, that your actions have consequences and that what's important is not your appearance, but your personality. August's family also play an essential role throughout Wonder, as conveyed by the use of metaphor and simile. Because the characters are apart of an ordinary family that is like those in real life, the readers are able to relate more with them and learn about unconditional love and the support found in family. R. J. Palacio tells a story of a boy whose greatest whose greatest wish is to be ordinary, but in the end realises that it's in fact better to be different, as that's what makes him such a wonder.


By Gabriella King

By R. J. Palacio


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