"What's the deal with your face? I mean, were you in a fire or something?"
This is the first of many times that Auggie is asked about his face in the novel, and is also the rudest and most abrupt. Palacio here establishes Julian as an antagonist, someone who will not be a friend to Auggie no matter how much time he spends with the new student. Julian is proof that not everybody will show kindness; it is better for Auggie to remove people of this sort from his life and focus on those who are kind to him.
"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 go to see what we looked like under the masks."
This quote highlights Auggie's desire to be known for something other than the way he looks. He is not so different from other kids on the inside, and when people get to know him, they find a funny, likable person worth befriending. The problem is that few people take the opportunity get to know him, since many people are put off by the way he looks. Auggie wants everyone to realize that it matters more what is on the inside than on the outside.
"I love Auggie very, very much. But he has many angels looking out for him already, Via. And I want you to know that you have me looking out for you."
Via has repeatedly tried to come to terms with the fact that her needs are second in her family to Auggie's because of everything that he goes through. Having Grans in her life helped her to feel better about her position, but after Grans dies, some feelings of dissatisfaction come back. Towards the end of the novel, Via gets much-needed attention, both from her boyfriend Justin and from her family when she stars in the school play.
"But if a little kid like Jamie, who's usually a nice enough kid, can be that mean, then a kid like August doesn't stand a chance in middle school."
Jack initially makes the decision to help Auggie feel welcome at school because he is worried about how other kids will treat Auggie. The statement about Jamie is telling, because it reminds readers that mean people are not the only ones who can say and do mean things. Even kids who are usually nice can act in ways that hurt others, so people must be keenly conscious of how their actions affect the people around them.
"If it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely. And the universe doesn't. It takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can't see."
Justin is the son of divorced parents who do not get along, so he immediately recognizes the beauty and virtue of the Pullmans' close, supportive family. He acknowledges that the universe has been unkind to Auggie in many ways, but has truly blessed him with the most important thing: a family that loves him more than anything. This is a luxury that Justin and others do not have.
"Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing."
This quote marks the beginning of Auggie's transition from being disliked at school to being accepted. He spends much time worrying about what the other students will think of him when he walks in wearing his bulky hearing aids, but then realizes that he is not going to be made fun of and that people actually care about how well he hears. People have begun to accept Auggie for who he is and no longer react negatively to how he looks.
"You don't need your eyes to love, right? You just feel it inside you. That's how it is in heaven. It's just love, and no one forgets who they love."
This statement occurs in Auggie's conversation with his mother after Daisy is put to sleep; Mrs. Pullman's words are about what happens after someone goes to heaven. Once again, Auggie is enthralled by the idea that people do not look the same after death, and hopes that he will be known for something other than his face. This quote also stresses the significance of love -- love within a family, love among friends, love that keeps you going even when things all seem wrong.
"I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives."
The entire auditorium claps for Via and the other student actors after they complete their opening night performance of the school play. This quote shows Auggie's insightfulness and kindness; he recognizes how worthwhile it is to make people feel important and loved, and wants everyone to have that feeling. In some ways, such warm acceptance is something that he hasn't had often enough in his life.
"If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, wherever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary—the world really would be a better place."
Mr. Tushman's speech at the fifth grade graduation is about the importance of showing kindness in all areas of life, an idea that is this novel's primary theme. Beecher Prep has come a long way in terms of kindness since Auggie started there at the beginning of the year. The other students have learned how essential it is to be kind to everyone, even those who appear to be different.
"You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder."
This final quote in the book is an acknowledgement of how Auggie has changed the lives of everyone around him just by being who he is. Before, Auggie was called a "medical wonder" on account of his strange condition. Now, though, Auggie is seen as a wonder because of his strength of character and his unwavering bravery and kindness. He has taught both other characters and real-life readers important lessons over the course of his story.
Wonder Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Wonder is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Miranda pretended she was sick so that Via (Olivia) would be able to perform in front of her family. Miranda still feels residual guilt for pretending to have Via's life over the summer, and (possibly) feels as if she is giving part of her life...